Highland County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jamie Wheeler said the organization’s biggest project this year is its website at Wednesday’s weekly meeting of the county commissioners.
Wheeler said the Visitor’s Bureau of Highland County is looking to have the website become a one-stop shop for not just Highland County residents, but also visitors interested in coming to the county. She said the website will include information like what visitors can do in the county, a community calendar, and places to shop, eat and stay.
She said the Visitor’s Bureau is reaching out to businesses and organizations to try and populate its information. She said it will have Google links for people to fill out and populate with the above information. She said all of that should be ready to go this week and that it would hopefully mean she will not have to go to every business to get the information.
The organization’s hope for the website, Wheeler said, is that business will be able to list what part of the county they’re in and what city they identify with, then visitors can filter it so that if they know they want to come to a particular area they can see what it has to offer.
Concerning other projects, Wheeler said the the chamber is in the middle of completing the Ohio Tourism Association’s Leadership Institute, which should be finished in June.
She said the organization plans to continue its local advertising through radio, newspaper and social media. She also said the Ohio Find-It-Here Co-Op Program will also be doing another video with the county. Wheeler said that Ohio Find-It-Here plans to help with the Festival of the Bells Committee’s promotion of the event. Wheeler said she hopes to do another blogger visit in late summer or early fall and continue to promote the county’s offerings.
She also said the county’s Visitor’s Bureau is also in the process of working with Clinton and Fayette counties to do a Battle of the Bands on Aug. 5, 2022, in Wilmington as a part of its concert series and hopes to make it an annual event.
For 2021 projects, Wheeler said in June the organization hosted a blogger tour with food and travel bloggers where they came for 24 hours. She said they started in Greenfield and went throughout the county. Wheeler said once the bloggers were done and posted their work on Instagram and Facebook, the posts got more than 264,000 impressions and around 4,900 engagements. She said engagements are when someone reads the blogs and then clicks on something to go further and learn more about the county.
The other project she mentioned was when the organization hosted a TikTok influencer named Sir Yacht. She said he posted three different videos, one of Highland County, one of Hillsboro and another of Greenfield. She also said the Facebook video got 23,000 views and 11,000 TikTok views.
In other news, commissioner Jeff Duncan said that the board planned to meet with people applying for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds at next week’s meeting. Duncan said the county has about $8.4 million coming from the fund and has already received half of it. He said the requests totaled a little over $12 million, so the board of commissioners will need to do some picking and choosing on projects.
Duncan said they’ve already have projects they want to support, which have to do with sewer programs, which includes updates and aspects needed on those. He said the reasoning for that is because the ARPA money was originally specified as a sewer, water and broadband grant, which allowed the county to get ahead on the sewer estimates and get some of the background work done.
He said the sewer upgrade was planned to cost “pretty close” to $3.5 million.
Commissioner Terry Britton said it’s “pretty obvious” that they won’t be able to fund everything requested, so that’s why they set up the meeting next week. He said the people that applied for the funding will be coming in to talk about their projects as well as Nicole Oberrecht, who is helming the ARPA fund project.
In other news, First State Bank was the lone quoted bid for an Asphalt Cold Planner for $271,000.
The Miller-Mason Paving Co. was awarded the 2022 Highland County Chip Seal Program bid for $570,300.
Concerning the Buford school project, Britton said there would be a pre-bid meeting at 10 a.m. on May 11 at the project site. Then, the following week the bids are planned to be received.
Speaking about the new dog pound, Duncan said he received an email from the architect who said they finally received all of the pieces of the puzzle and put them all together. Duncan said the architect told him they would be putting together the bid packets soon, but didn’t have specific dates yet.
Chris Snider, community outreach coordinator with National Grid Renewables, said he wanted to update the board on the Dodson Creek solar project in Dodson and Hamer townships southeast of Lynchburg. He said the evidentiary hearing was last week with the Ohio Power Siting Board and that everything went well. He said they should hear back later this summer, then move forward with the project. Snider said the next steps are starting pilot work with the commissioners and RUMA work with the county engineers.
Snider said the timeline for the pilot recommendation would probably be in the next month and that they want to get started on that quickly.
Commissioner Dave Daniels said the office was informed that Ohio Lieutenant Gov. Jon Husted will be in Hillsboro at the Orpheum on Friday for an announcement concerning southeast and southern Ohio.
In other news, there were 15 resolutions approved by the commissioners:
* Res. No. 22-69 is an authorization for a budget modification within Public Assistance in the amount of $14,772.
* Res. No. 22-70 is an authorization for a budget modification within Public Assistance Social Services in the amount of $8,134.
* Res. No. 22-71 is an authorization for a budget modification within Engineer Salary Official in the amount of $1,681.
* Res. No. 22-72 is an authorization for a budget modification within Engineer Salary Employees in the amount of $1,526.
* Res. No. 22-73 is an authorization for a budget modification within Engineers Laborers Employees in the amount of $24,853.
* Res. No. 22-74 is an authorization for a budget modification within Soil and Water in the amount of $15,200.
* Res. No. 22-75 is an authorization for a budget modification within Emergency Management in the amount of $483.
* Res. No. 22-76 is an authorization for a budget modification within Policeman’s Rotary in the amount of $1,019.
* Res. No. 22-77 is an authorization for a budget modification within Chore Services in the amount of $140.
* Res. No. 22-78 is an authorization for a budget modification within Probation in the amount of $746.
* Res. No. 22-79 is an authorization for a budget modification within County General Fund – Medicare in the amount of $54,649.
* Res. No. 22-80 is an authorization for a budget modification within County General Fund – OPERS in the amount of $560,721.
* Res. No. 22-81 is an authorization for a request for an additional appropriation from unappropriated funds within the sheriff’s budget for $391.47.
* Res. No. 22-82 is the awarding of the 2022 Highland County Chip Seal Program Bid.
* Res. No. 22-83 is the awarding of the purchase of an Asphalt Cold Planner.
There were two contracts approved by the commissioners:
*Contract 32 is between the board of commissioners, the Family and Children First Council (FCFC) and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disorders for an Early Intervention Service Coordination Grant Agreement from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.
*Contract 33 is between the board of commissioners, the Highland County Airport Authority, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Office of Aviation for the Grant Contract for ODOT Project Number 22-20.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.