The Highland County Board of Commissioners heard a request from representatives from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) concerning the need for more office space at its weekly Wednesday meeting.
Commissioner Jeff Duncan, the board president, said the board has had conversations with Renee Gibbs, deputy registrar in Hillsboro, as well as the person last in her position, about expansion plans at the current BMV location. He said the only option looks to be for one of the current residents at the HI-TEC Center to move out, meaning the county is looking for space for one of them.
Duncan said the county has some American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and $500 million of new funding Gov. Mike DeWine set aside for 32 counties in Appalachia.
He said the board of commissioners wants to use some of that funding to expand another building and move one of the residents at the Hi-TEC Center to that new building, freeing up space. He said one possible solution was moving Ohio Means Jobs into Highland County Community Action Organization’s (HCCAO) space, but it’s tied to the ARPA funding. Duncan said there wasn’t a definitive time frame for it, but that it was something that had to be finished by the end of 2024.
Duncan said if the plan for Ohio Means Jobs moving into HCCAO is eventually approved, he guessed it would take a year to get the renovations done.
However, Gibbs said two years would be a long time to wait for more space. She said that if it was going to be that long, they would need to have the carpet replaced, saying it was “bad.”
In response, Duncan said the commissioners could look at doing some work on the building in that fashion. He said they have some money for that and didn’t see why they couldn’t do some upgrades.
Nick Frost, administrator for field operations for the BMV, said he recently visited the Hillsboro BMV for the first time and that they “probably” need about double the space they currently have.
He said that space would need to be within the agency so employees have enough room to complete their transactions and possibly expand to one more terminal in case the population grows or a BMV in a surrounding county closes, which would increase the surrounding counties’ BMV customers. Frost said the latter option “will” happen, too. He said the organization is contracting rather than expanding and is closing some locations it won’t reopen.
In other news, commissioner Dave Daniels said that work was progressing on the dog pound.
Duncan said he spoke to the architect Wednesday morning who said some of the concrete had been poured. He said that as soon as the concrete was set, the workers could start setting posts. He also said there is temporary electricity on the property. Duncan also said he thinks that the weather has been a “hindrance.”
In other news, Duncan said the board of commissioners interviewed and hired Randall Williams as the new dog warden.
The board also approved a Satisfaction of Mortgage Revision from Highland County Community Action Organization for its CHIP Program.
In other news, there were four resolutions approved by the board:
* Res. No. 22-140 awards the new dog kennels bid to Midmark for $218,996.
* Res. No. 22-141 authorizes a budget modification within Veterans Services in the amount of $4,000.
* Res. No. 22-142 authorizes a request for an additional appropriation within the sheriff’s budget for $4,526.
* Res. No. 22-143 authorizes a budget modification within the general fund from Other Expense – Miscellaneous Commissioners to Contract Repairs in the amount of $25,000.
There was also one contract approved by the board of commissioners:
* Contract 63 is between the board of commissioners, the Highland County Engineer and DGM, Inc. for HIG-CR Various Structure Replacements.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.