Improvements to the Highland County Dog Pound, Tuesday’s visit to a ribbon-cutting at Adient in Greenfield, the issuance of a letter of support to assist that village in its efforts to secure grant funding for improvements to the railroad spur, and official recognition of Red Ribbon Week topped the agenda of the Highland County Board of Commissioners at their regular Wednesday meeting.
Commissioner Gary Abernathy, who has been spearheading upgrade efforts at the dog pound, said that in the previous week alone, about $2,000 was being spent on a new water heater at the facility, in addition to the rerouting of a floor drain and dryer vent, and repairs to another vent to prevent outside air from entering inside during the upcoming winter months.
“A couple of months ago we spent about $30,000 for a new truck for the dog pound,” Abernathy said. “For many years, we operated with a full-time and part-time dog warden, but going forward, both of those positions will now be full-time.”
He also clarified a false report he said he heard alleging the lack of an exercise area at the dog pound, adding that “we absolutely do have an outdoor exercise area that is penned in for outdoor time, and for people who are thinking about adoption can sit at a picnic table that one of the volunteers supplied.”
The commissioners also approved a motion to allow a new volunteer group to use funding that was left over from a previous group that disbanded earlier in the year.
The commissioners attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony and factory tour of Adient in Greenfield on Tuesday, with commissioner Jeff Duncan commenting the local employer has been a big part of Highland County industry for several years and currently employs 250 workers.
“On Oct. 26, from 1-5 p.m., they’ll be having an open house for the community and their employees, and you’ll have a chance to walk through the plant and see what they do first-hand,” Duncan said. “They’ve got things for kids, like a petting zoo, pony rides and inflatables. It’ll be a celebration for those folks.”
Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin appeared before commissioners to request a letter of support in his ongoing efforts to secure grant funding for repairs and upgrades to the Greenfield railroad spur.
“This Friday is the Federal Railroad Association Grant, and our original intention was to go after $2.2 million, which is a 50/50 match, so we have to come up with $1.1 million,” Wilkin said. “We heard (Tuesday) that we’ve had a few more partners step up and we’ve raised about $1.5 million, which takes our grant application up to $3 million.”
He explained that the Ohio Rail Development Commission is requesting a letter of support from the county commissioners that would state that $125,000 previously earmarked for the railroad would be going directly into the rail project “in support of the grant that we’re going after.”
Also Wednesday, a proclamation was issued in support of Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention campaign, for the week of Oct. 21-25.
Representatives from Fairfield Local, Whiteoak Jr./Sr. high schools and the Hillsboro City Schools were on hand to share what their schools and students will be doing to promote Red Ribbon Week, which came into existence in 1988.
Gena Bates of the Scioto-Paint Valley Mental Health Center in Hillsboro said she has been coordinating the program for the last three years in partnership with the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board.
“The premise of Red Ribbon Week is to bring awareness and education about drug abuse and prevention,” she said. “Every year we have some different activities for the schools, which usually includes Dress Up Day, Crazy Hair Day, and giveaways for the kids, things like that, but the main idea is to really teach them about drug abuse, and hopefully prevent it.”
Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley provided commissioners with the most recent update on sales tax receipts, which Duncan described as “a little better than last year.”
October’s receipt figures show a $57,465 increase from a year ago, with year to date receipts in the plus column by $355,285 compared to Oct. 2018.
In other matters, commissioners approved a total of seven line item budget transfer resolutions and were signatory to a contract with the Family and Children First Council and Ohio Department of Medicaid, which Duncan described as a grant that was applied for.
A meeting was held Tuesday regarding the County Risk Sharing Authority (CORSA) incentive program, which Terry Britton described as a loss control program that brought with it a reduction in the liability insurance rate the county must pay.
County clerk Mary Remsing, who is the loss control coordinator of the local CORSA effort for the county, said that the county saved a total of $6,664 by meeting all of the requirements of the program.
Prior to adjournment, Abernathy expressed condolences on the recent passing of former state senator H. Cooper Snyder, calling him “someone who had a great impact on our community, and a good friend to everyone who knew him.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.