COVID funding rules change


Virtual economic meeting also held with solar developer

By Tim Colliver - tcolliver@aimmediamidwest.com



Shown, from left, are Highland County commissioners Gary Abernathy, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton during Wednesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Shown, from left, are Highland County commissioners Gary Abernathy, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton during Wednesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.


Tim Colliver | The Times-Gazette

Highland County Board of Commissioners Vice President Terry Britton said Wednesday that the Ohio State Treasurer’s Office has released an update on coronavirus funding guidelines, adding that “they’re changing the rules again.”

“I don’t know all of the rule changes, but it seems like that’s starting to be an issue,” Britton said.

Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley commented that what was confusing was that there were conflicting guidelines coming from Columbus.

“You’re getting different guidelines from treasury and from the Ohio Bureau of Budget and Management,” Fawley said. “And they’re not saying to report things the same way.”

Britton said they would be sorting through the most recent details to get a better understanding on what changes were made.

Commissioners Gary Abernathy, Jeff Duncan and Britton later entered into executive session for a virtual meeting with representatives of Innergex, the Canadian firm that is building the new Hillcrest solar panel farm under construction across the Highland/Brown County line on Greenbush East Road, nearly four miles west of Buford.

Karine Vachon, Innergex senior director of communications, told The Times-Gazette the 200–megawatt solar photovoltaic project has been in the construction phase since late January and is now more than half completed.

She said that Hillcrest Solar is on land owned by 25 local residents who will receive compensation for the use of their land over the next 35 years.

In addition to long term lease and easement payments, she said that when completed, the solar power generation facility will provide economic contributions to the surrounding communities through “payments made in lieu of property taxes,” also known as PILOT, of more than $60 million to Brown County, the Western Brown School District and Green Township in Brown County.

Also Wednesday, an ongoing five-year contract was renewed between the county and private property owner Robert Kiser for the 28 acres he had been leasing that adjoins the Highland County Airport.

Britton said the lease was $65 per acre, with Duncan adding that the lease benefited both parties in that Kiser allowed some of the solid waste from the Rocky Fork Lake sewer plant to be spread on the property.

“The sewer plant uses some of our property, but it’s not big enough to hold it all, so he is willing to work with us on that,” he said. “It’s really been a good situation for us and for him as well.”

Duncan said that improvements were in progress at the Highland County Board of Elections office in preparation for the upcoming Nov. 3 General Election.

“Some people from the state have been in to work on the windows,” he said, “and we’re in the process of putting a new secondary door in to allow another way to exit the building.”

In other matters, a pair of line item budget transfer resolutions were approved, in addition to a contract between the commissioners, the Highland County Sheriff and Town and Country Department Store for the purchase of one weapon.

Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.

Shown, from left, are Highland County commissioners Gary Abernathy, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton during Wednesday’s regularly scheduled meeting.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2020/09/web1_Commish-23-Sep-20.jpgShown, from left, are Highland County commissioners Gary Abernathy, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton during Wednesday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Tim Colliver | The Times-Gazette
Virtual economic meeting also held with solar developer

By Tim Colliver

tcolliver@aimmediamidwest.com