Rotarians hear from county commissioner

SIDNEY — Julie Ehemann, Shelby County commissioner and president of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) addressed a recent meeting of the Sidney Rotary Club.

Ehemann opened her presentation by talking about her start in public service 26 years ago as a member of Anna Village Council, then as mayor of Anna and now starting her third term as Shelby County commissioner. She noted that she is the first woman elected commissioner in Shelby County and that across the state, only 18 percent of the county commissioners are women. Ehemann stated that she has been on numerous committees for CCAO and then talked about the opportunity to run for second vice president three years ago, which has led to her being president for 2019. She stated that it will be a very busy year with a new governor and his first state biennium budget, which has a deadline of July 1 for approval.

The transportation budget is the first part of that biennium budget process, and Ehemann commented on the importance of transportation infrastructure for the state and, in particular, Shelby County. Shelby County’s strong manufacturing and agriculture base needs good roads and bridges to allow the flow of raw materials and finished products. She noted that Shelby County has spent local sales tax dollars for roads and bridges, but many counties are not able to do that, making this transportation budget very important.

Opiates and illegal drugs was the second topic of discussion along with the Department of Children Services’ needs in relation to illegal drug usage. Opiate use has started to decline, but for the most part, users have switched to meth. Children Services costs have skyrocketed due to children’s being placed in foster care because of parental drug use.

On another note, Ehemann talked about sales tax on Internet sales, which may increase revenue to the state and also at the local level, after a decision by the United States Supreme Court last year.

Ehemann, having just returned from the National Association of Counties’ Washington Legislative Conference, spoke about an app that can be on a phone to check for broadband coverage. At the conference, staff helped all participants understand the use of the app, and how important broadband coverage was to rural America.

Ehemann talked about upcoming events for the Shelby County bicentennial and invited Rotarians to be involved with events, such as the Guinness World Record for most pop top cans opened at the same time.