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Commissioners approve CDBG applications; Highland County permissive sales tax receipts top $3.8M on the year

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Pictured (l-r) are Highland County commissioners David Daniels, Brad Roades and Terry Britton. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Caitlin Forsha, The Highland County Press

Highland County commissioners Terry Britton, David Daniels and Brad Roades voted to submit applications for two new Community Development Block Grant projects and held a bid opening for a previously awarded project during their Wednesday, May 24 meeting.

Commissioners met with their clerk Mary Remsing, who is the county’s Community Development Block Grant coordinator, to rank and review projects, after which they passed a resolution approving an application for two local proposals.

Remsing said two project applications were submitted for the initial funding round this year: one from Nicole Oberrecht, who is overseeing the county’s ARPA funds and other grant funding for major projects, such as the county’s sewer improvements; and one from the Village of Greenfield.

The county is applying for a Critical Infrastructure grant for the Rolling Acres subdivision in New Market Township, Remsing said, which if approved would “replace 4,000 linear feet of existing sewer lines and 12 precast manholes.

“The funding available is $500,000,” Remsing said.  

The Village of Greenfield is seeking a Residential Public Infrastructure grant for sanitary sewer line replacements that would impact the entire village, according to Remsing. It would also include “site cleanup and remediation from the construction, including repair of roads and driveways,” she told commissioners.

“This project will replace the main sanitary sewer line manholes and wyes located within the critical failing parts of the lines,” Remsing said. “Service connections will be replaced.

“Phase one will address the high-priority areas east of Washington Street and south of Jefferson Street. The outcome of this project will benefit the entire village, consisting of 4,339 residents. The scope of the project will replace approximately 10,950 linear feet of sewer pipe, 9,040 sanitary sewer service, 285 wyes and 50 manholes consisting of standard precast and precast drop.”

For this grant, there is $750,000 in state funding available, according to Remsing. Both grants are subject to review by the Ohio Department of Development, are due June 14 and should be awarded in early September.

After meeting with Remsing, commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the resolution to authorize and direct the President of the County Board of Commissioners to submit an application for Community Development Block Grant to the Ohio Department of Development for both proposed projects.

Remsing said she would be working to submit both applications on OCEAN, the Department of Development’s website, in the coming weeks.

At 10 a.m., commissioners held a bid opening for a tornado siren for the Village of Greenfield, which will also be funded through the county’s Community Development Block Grant program.

They received one bid from Federal Signal, totaling $59,252, including sirens, material and labor. According to Remsing, the bid estimate was $74,200.

Since the company submitted an entire binder for its bid, Daniels said “that’s a pretty big document to go through, so we will not be making the decision today.” The engineer for the project, Gary Silcott of DLZ, said he would review the bid and draft a letter of recommendation.    

In other discussion:

• Highland County Auditor Alex Butler shared copies of the latest permissive sales tax receipts, with the county recording $724,052.60 for the month of May 2023 and topping $3.8 million on the year.

Compared to April 2023, that is an increase of $44,794.18, and compared to May 2022, it is an increase of $65,605.21, as noted by Butler and Daniels.

“That is encouraging, and I anticipate, judging from historical data, that we'll have a nice jump for what we'll receive next month,” Butler said. “We’re trending in the right direction.”

For 2023 thus far, the county’s receipts total is $3,835,462.27. At this point in 2022 — a record year for permissive sales tax receipts — the county had received $3,655,360.36.

Commissioners thanked Butler, and Daniels asked him to also “run us a cash report” to review.

“It’s always good news that cash receipts are staying stable,” Britton said.

• During the morning’s approvals, commissioners voted 3-0 to authorize the commission president to execute two Ohio EPA permits to install: one for the second phase of the Rocky Fork Lake Wastewater Treatment Plan improvements, and one for the Rolling Acres Wastewater System repair/replacement.

“Those are projects that we've been talking about for the last several months about the things that we need to be considering as far as capital upgrades to those facilities,” Daniels said.

• Commissioners also voted 3-0 to approve a taxiway marking light fixture purchase, quoted at $6,000, for the Highland County Airport. According to Britton, the cost includes “material and labor;” the replacement of the eight current fixtures; and two additional backup fixtures “because there's a price break if you buy 10.”

The current fixtures were “damaged,” Britton said, and were no longer under warranty.

The request was approved, although Daniels said he’d “like to know how they got damaged.”

• An area resident attended Wednesday’s morning and asked to address commissioners about a complaint regarding the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, whom she said would not permit her to file charges against an individual she alleged “exploited money from me.

“The sheriff's department refused to accept my complaint,” she said. “They said that it appeared to be a civil matter. It’s not — it's both —  but I'm allowed to file a criminal complaint against them, and the sheriff's department refused to take my complaint.

“The sheriff's department is unwilling to listen to me. They dismissed it as stupid or whatever, and this is ridiculous that I can't file a criminal complaint.”

The resident answered questions from Daniels regarding the timing, nature and location of the alleged events, after which he said the commissioners’ office would speak to Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera about her concerns.

“We don't have the ability to file charges against anybody or anything like that, but we can reach out to him and let him know that we've received your concern and ask him what's going on, and see what we can find out for you,” Daniels said. “We’re sorry you’re having trouble.”

In addition, the resident also expressed concerns that “this county does not have an animal humane warden” and that there is “a definite need” for the position.

“That’s the responsibility of the Humane Society,” Daniels said. “We provide a small stipend for that position, but that’s the Humane Society’s area.”

• At the start of the meeting, Britton encouraged the community to attend a local Memorial Day observance, such as the one hosted by the VFW Post 9094 Monday, May 29 at 10:30 a.m. at the Highland County Veterans Memorial by the courthouse.

• At 10:30 a.m., commissioners entered an executive session with representatives from Brown/Raybourn to discuss compensation. They also entered a public session at noon to discuss the county’s broadband gap analysis.

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

• A transfer of funds from Public Assistance Account, 2050 to Children Services Fund, 2115 in the amount of $50,000 for foster care costs.

• A request from Juvenile/Probate Court to establish a new fund, 2023 Technology Grant. The new fund shall have an Other Expense line item.

• A request from Probation for a budget modification within the 2670 JRIG account in the amount of $24,995.

• A budget modification from County, Transfer Out to Jury Commission, 1000 in the amount of $772.50.

• A budget modification from Transfers Out County Miscellaneous to
Advances Out County General in the amount of $2,400. Also authorized is an advance from Advances Out to Advances in Lakeside Sub-Division Sewer District in the amount of $2,400.

• A budget modification from Transfers Out County Miscellaneous to
Advances Out County General in the amount of $5,000. Also authorized is an advance from Advances Out to Advances in County Sewer District in the amount of $5,000.

The following contracts were also approved, 3-0:

• An Ohio Department of Youth Services Juvenile Court Grant agreement and funding application among Commissioners, the State of Ohio Department of Youth Services and Highland County Juvenile Court.

• A change order contract, to adjust plan quantities to field quantities performed, among commissioners, the Highland County Engineer and PDK Construction.

• A Sourcewell lease agreement for a Quadient postage machine for Highland County Common Pleas Court.


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