Preliminary non-automobile sales tax figures from the Ohio Department of Taxation for September indicated a 22 percent increase over last year’s revenues, according to Highland County Board of Commissioners Vice President Terry Britton.
“It was $415,515 last year, and it’s $508,493 for this year,” Britton said.
Even in light of current economic uncertainties, sales tax revenues continue to trend favorably, according to board of commissioners president Jeff Duncan. Duncan voiced appreciation for community members who buy locally.
Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins brought good financial news as well to the Tuesday morning meeting. Collins reported to the commissioners that measures put in place in her office had resulted in substantial collections in delinquent property taxes.
“Delinquent property taxes have been a real concern that we’ve been tackling,” Collins said. “The other day, I asked the auditor’s office for an update on delinquent taxes collected for the 2020 year — we’re at $1.975 million.”
Collins’ office currently has 388 people under contract to make monthly payments that bring down their total delinquent taxes owed, Collins explained. Of those contracts, 221 were established in 2020 alone.
“So far, we’ve mailed out about 900 delinquent tax letters this year,” Collins said. “And those people who are under contract with us are also doing a contract to keep their monthly taxes current.”
Collins emphasized that the ultimate objective of the delinquent tax collection program is to keep homeowners in their homes and to avoid foreclosure. While the contract is in force, property owners are not penalized and interest is not levied on the delinquency.
Also Tuesday, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner appeared before the commissioners to expound on two requests for funding through the CARES Act.
The first request was for $1,750 for the health department’s Nursing Remote Work Project, which remedies problems that surfaced during periods of quarantine.
“We’d like to get some support for our nurses in the form of some portable printers that they can use if they get stuck at home or if they’re in a remote work situation,” Warner said, “and also get an additional iPhone, so they can have a work phone to use instead of using their personal cell phone.”
The other funding request of $4,279.16 was for administrative and clerical support so that the health department can hire a part-time support worker to handle the increasing caseload.
“Between May and September of 2020, we did roughly 920 individual quarantines that involved phone calls, letters and everything associated with that,” Warner said. “Just in the month of October, we’ve had over a thousand, and that pace continues to increase.”
Warner said that the funding request would ease the strain on the administrative and clerical efforts of the health department. The new position will involve approximately 30 hours per week through December.
Both funding requests were approved.
In other matters, five resolutions met with commission approval, four of which were line-item budget transfers. The fifth was an inter-county agreement between the job and family services offices of Highland and Montgomery counties.
One contract with the Highland County Community Action Organization Office of Community Development for on-going home improvements was approved, along with a release request for funds (RROF) for the office of housing and community partnership with Highland County Community Action Organization for housing rehabilitation projects.
Since the regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting was moved to Tuesday in observance of Veteran’s Day, Britton and Duncan expressed their appreciation for the sacrifice made by veterans not only in Highland County but throughout the nation.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571