Highland County continues to enjoy robust consumer confidence as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, according to preliminary permissive sales tax figures released during Wednesday’s meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.
Figures supplied by Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley showed county sales tax receipts through May showed more than a half-million dollar increase over the same time period last year, with preliminary sales tax receipts of nearly $3.4 million since January.
The May sales tax numbers continued a five-month upward trend when compared with 2020, with May receipts at almost $106,000 better than May of last year.
“Our sales tax numbers continue to hold in there, and if anything, increase,” commission president Jeff Duncan said. “I know some of the discussions we’re hearing from some of the bigger counties are saying their tax numbers are lower, and the smaller, rural counties seem to be holding or going a little higher.”
He attributed those figures to local people shopping at home instead of venturing to the neighboring cities, which “was indeed good news for the county.”
Commissioner David Daniels said that the new Rocky Fork Lake/Highland County Sewer Use Ordinance should be ready for online public viewing “in the next day or so.”
He said he hoped that the final draft of the new rules, which would affect every sewer system maintained by the county, could be approved at next week’s commissioners meeting.
As previously reported, Daniels said that the financial aspects of the systems, along with penalties for not following regulations, were the biggest changes being made to the ordinance, which has not been updated since 1996.
He emphasized that the new ordinance not only dealt with the Rocky Fork sewer system, but also all of the sewer systems operated by Highland County, calling it a “one-blanket sewer use rules that deals with all of the systems that we have.”
Duncan said that Greystone Systems proposed a new telephone system for county buildings, which he said was originally installed 25 years ago.
“What we’re running into is if we have any issues with equipment, it’s so old we’re having trouble getting replacement parts,” Duncan said. “Greystone came in and gave us an estimate bid of $35,580.”
Commissioners moved to accept the company’s bid.
In other matters, four line item budget resolutions were approved, along with a trio of contracts.
One of the contracts authorized the commissioners to enter into a one-year lease agreement with the Highland County Historical Society for the new offices of Highland County Economic Development Director Julie Bolender.
Daniels put forth a motion to officially approve Bolender’s hiring, which was seconded and unanimously approved Wednesday.
Duncan said her first day on the job will be Thursday, May 20, and that she was in the process of moving furniture and equipment into her new office, which will be on the second floor West Room of the Scott House in Hillsboro.
Also Wednesday, a standard subordination of mortgage agreement was executed between the county and Gary Schlueter and Scott Burdorf of the Highland County Community Action Organization for home rehab.
Commissioners also put forth a letter of support on behalf of Alternatives to Violence for its application for a Justice Assistance Grant for fiscal year 2021 with the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.