Pictured (l-r) are Highland County commissioners David Daniels, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Pictured (l-r) are Highland County commissioners David Daniels, Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Highland County commissioners Jeff Duncan, Terry Britton and David Daniels, along with Highland County auditor Bill Fawley, announced another record-breaking month of permissive sales tax receipts during their Wednesday, June 16 meeting.

For June, the county is reporting $889,862.26, the highest-ever total recorded for one month, according to Duncan. The second-highest total on a spreadsheet provided by Fawley, which shows data from 2015 to the present, was recorded in March 2021, at $788,292.64.

“They’re the best they’ve ever been,” Duncan said of the June 2021 sales tax numbers. “We set a new record for a one-month receipt of sales tax.”

As noted by Duncan, the nearly $890,000 total this month is $320,597.90 higher than the June 2020 total, and year-to-date the county has received $838,351.84 more than the same six-month period in 2020.

“Thanks to everybody that’s buying local,” Duncan said. “It’s helping out here.”

Daniels asked Fawley to clarify when the collections actually took place, as Fawley said June’s total would reflect the April receipts.

“For us to get that amount, that means there was a little over $59 million of taxable purchases in Highland County in one month,” Fawley said. “Keep in mind that doesn’t count food, that doesn’t count medicine, that doesn’t count farm machinery that’s all tax-exempt. We’re talking about taxable items — $59 million.”

“That’s pretty tremendous when I think we hear from the County Commissioners Association that the metropolitan areas aren’t faring so well,” Duncan said. “We’re doing pretty well here.”

So far this year, all six monthly totals have each been over $620,000, while 2020 had six months below that amount. Fawley said in December that 2020 reflected the “best year we’ve ever had” for the county, with over $7.5 million in permissive sales tax receipts for the year.

As reported last month, Highland County topped $3 million in tax receipts for the first five months of 2021. The June total now puts the county above $4 million, at $4,289,151.92.

Commissioners — whose regular meeting was held during a power outage at the Highland County Administration Building — also voted to approve grant applications for the county’s Revolving Fund Recycling Grant Program Wednesday.

The program is open to “municipal corporations, villages, townships, state colleges, boards of education, park districts, health districts and not-for-profit corporations/organizations within Highland County,” according to the grant application. Grants help offset “costs associated with conducting solid waste, recycling and litter cleanup and prevention activities,” including establishing recycling programs, hosting cleanup events and more, the application says.

Duncan said that county recycling coordinator Tara Campbell recommended the county approve applications from Hillsboro City Schools ($1,342.80), the village of Highland ($1,350) and the village of Leesburg ($1,872), for a total of $4,564.80.

“I think Greenfield also applied for a $4,500 grant, but they got grant money last year,” Duncan said. “Tara is recommending that we fund Hillsboro schools, Highland and Leesburg. She is going to work with them in some fashion.”

Britton moved to accept the recommendation from Campbell, which passed, 3-0.

In an unrelated motion, commissioners voted to appoint Jacob Shuman as the county apiary inspector for 2021.

Shuman, who lives in Ross County, is currently serving as an intern in the Ohio State University Extension office. According to Extension Educator Dr. Brooke Beam, “Shuman’s area of expertise is in honeybee research. He has previously worked at the OSU Honey Bee Lab and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. He has continued his passion for entomology by having his own beehives.”

Duncan said the county had been “struggling” to find a qualified individual willing to accept the appointment.

“We’ve got a young man who is interning this summer across the hall for Extension, and he is a beekeeper and has some experience there,” Duncan said. “He has agreed to take that position.

“A big thank-you to him.”

Daniels moved to approve Shuman’s appointment, which passed unanimously.

Duncan also announced that there is “activity” at the Leesburg Industrial Park as Nelson Family Enterprises prepares for construction of their new facility. Britton announced earlier this month that the company had been scheduled to close on property at the park June 4.

“There’s a little activity starting over at the Industrial Park in Leesburg,” Duncan said. “There’s been some supplies unloaded over there, so I think they’re wanting to get started on the construction of the building over there.”

As reported April 7, commissioners authorized a purchase agreement contract with the company.

According to Britton, the engineering and industrial company based in Sioux City, Neb. is purchasing a five-acre tract at the Leesburg Industrial Park to build an approximately 16,000 square-foot distribution warehouse. The expansion is expected to add 14 jobs locally for the company, which Britton said has “done construction all over the United States.”

In other action, commissioners approved the following resolutions, each by a 3-0 vote:

• A budget modification within T-27 Jail Diversion FY 20 in the amount of $1,503.41.

• A budget modification within T-28 Prosecutorial Diversion FY20 in the amount of $4,493.

• A request to create a new line item within T-30 PSI, Operating Expense. Commissioners also authorized an appropriation of unappropriated funds to Operating Expense in the amount of $1,255.

• A budget modification within T-30 PSI in the amount of $2,283.59.

• A budget modification within T-31 JRIG in the amount of $10,170.23.

• A budget modification within the Commissioners budget in the amount of $600.

Two contracts were also approved:

• A standard annual grant agreement with Highland County Commissioners, Family and Children First Council (FCFC) and Ohio Department of Medicaid.

• A Road Use, Repair and Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) between the Highland County Engineer and Hecate Energy for Highland Solar.

Commissioners were scheduled to virtually attend the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission’s second-round caucus meeting at 9:15 a.m., along with Fawley and Highland County Engineer Chris Fauber. Due to the power outage, they were connecting via phone call or mobile applications instead of on their office’s smart board.