At Wednesday’s meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners, auditor Bill Fawley said sales tax receipts for June were a little over $12,000 less than the same time last year.
But despite the decrease, he said the county was still in the plus column with year-to-date sales tax figures running $165,057 more compared to last year.
“When you consider these figures would have been for April, this would have been sales taxes after pretty much everything was closed that had to close,” Fawley told commissioners. “We’re better off than a lot of counties, especially those with big shopping centers and that kind of thing — they had some big hits.”
Duncan said Highland County had “been pretty fortunate so far,” adding that conversations his board had been having with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio provided a forecast of what the organization saw economywise throughout the state.
Fawley credited the stability of the Highland County economy to the fact that residents for the most part made a conscious decision to spend their dollars at home.
John Kellis, Avery Applegate and Kim Newman of the Hillsboro City Design Review Board met with the commissioners to discuss uniformity between the county and the city concerning outside advertising signs and other activities in the uptown historic business district.
“We don’t know what policies you have on activities on the courthouse square and we wanted to begin a conversation,” Kellis told the commissioners. “I think the biggest thing a board like ours has to do is be consistent — that way in the future if someone questions why activities or advertising has to be done a certain way, we can look back and see where those decisions were made between the city and the county.”
Kellis said the main focus of the Design Review Board was to insure that alterations, changes, or new work in the uptown historic business district of Hillsboro was consistent with the way it should look in keeping up with its historic appearance.
Board member Kimberly Newman said the Hillsboro Design Review Board was created to help preserve and accentuate the historic details of the business district, while presenting a fresh face to the community by using standards that revitalize the area and increase the relative property values in the area.
“One example recently was when NCB talked to us regarding their planned expansion in the back of their building,” Kellis said. “Everything was pretty good except they were planning on using vinyl siding, which wasn’t approved in the district, and they admitted it would look better if they used cement board, or tile or brick.”
He cited another instance where replacement of the front door of the courthouse was planned, and research from the review board aided in the purchase and installation of a door that was more suited to reflect the heritage of the building.
Duncan said a process was currently in place regarding the placement of signage on the courthouse square, but recommended reviewing some of the regulations in light of final installation and landscaping of the new fountain, which he described as a “new focal point on the front of the courthouse.”
“What we need to do is get together and come up with something that’s agreeable to both sides,” Duncan said. “Maybe we need to look at our policy and upgrade it a little bit.”
In other matters, Abernathy pointed out that a recent grant from the South Center Power Company enabled the Friends of the Highland County Animal Shelter to install a carport-like shelter at the facility.
“It’s designed to allow people to enjoy some outside time with a dog that they’re considering for adoption,” Abernathy said. “And there are plans to place a picnic table out there as well.”
Three resolutions dealing directly with the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act were approved Wednesday.
One resolution authorized Fawley to take actions necessary in compliance with the measure, while two others enabled him to establish new funds earmarked as Local Coronavirus Relief Fund and Coronavirus Distribution fund.
One other resolution was an additional appropriation to Lakeside Sewer.
The commissioners also approved a pair of contracts, one with Ronnie Howland on behalf of the Highland County Community Action Organization Home Improvement Program, and the other between commissioners and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Also Wednesday, a capital improvement legislative grant agreement for the Rocky Fork State Park water and electrical upgrade was approved to support the Smokin’ in the Hills event, and approval was given for the social services block grant profile report summary estimate for both 2020 and 2021.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.