County ready to celebrate bicentennial



Julie Ehemann, far right, is sworn in to her third term as Shelby County Commissioner by Juvenile Judge Jeff Beigel, center, as her father Robert Rump, of New Bremen, holds a Bible at the Shelby County Courthouse.

SDN file photo

SIDNEY — “As your Shelby County Commissioners prepare for 2019, there is a buzz because we are excited about celebrating Shelby County’s Bicentennial,” said Commissioner Julie Ehemann. “The official kick-off will occur on April 1 but already, persons are purchasing coins and entering a contest to name the Bicentennial Beer. A committee has been working for months to get things in motion. Details can be found on Facebook at Shelby County Bicentennial 2019 or

Her report continues:

We were not very optimistic regarding county income as we entered 2018 because of the loss of Medicaid Managed Care Sales Tax revenue expecting a 4 percent decrease in our sales tax overall . We did plan for it and ended the year with sales tax down just 1.4 percent compared to 2017. We had some other positive results with the Sheriff’s office continuing to house Federal and Out-Of-County prisoners. Those revenues exceeded the budget forecast by $200,000. The Treasurer’s office under John Coffield’s leadership also had positive results realizing $189,000 in interest income over projections after moving funds into the STAR Ohio program.

Our employees now participate in a Wellness Initiative through our Health Insurance Consortium CEBCO. Our employees participation ranked them third out of 33 counties. We believe our participation is the reason why we saw a slight decrease in premiums for our health insurance. We also had a minor decrease in our Counties Building and Liability Insurance.

As we move into 2019 we have changes to our General Fund budget resulting in an overall 4.6 percent increase over 2018. With the many stresses on our county, we are thankful for the continued diligence of all elected officials to be prudent with taxpayer funds.

We have many projects in progress with the Fairhaven Nursing Home renovations being one. Phase One of the plan demolished the wing known as Cedar Hall and consists of building a contemporary addition having a modern farmhouse motif with 74 beds (66 of which are private rooms), bariatric accommodations, and private bathrooms totaling 67,424 square feet. Arbor Hall will be renovated for use as the new memory care wing, with 20 private rooms and four companion suites. The project is anticipated to cost $11.5 million with a projected completion date this spring.

Another project includes the STAR Transitional Treatment House being built next to the Shelby County Jail. The STAR House will fill the gap between incarceration and complete independence for those in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. While living in the STAR house, men will participate in counseling, have outside employment, be enrolled in Medication Assisted Treatment which will curb drug cravings, and learn life skills such as cooking and budgeting. The 4269 square foot facility will house 20 male residents and be operated cooperatively by The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Tri County Board of Mental Health and The Shelby County Commissioners. Westerheide Construction Company is building the facility at an estimated cost of $1,004,200. Funding for the construction is through Tri-County Board of Mental Health, Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services and a grant from the State Capital Budget. The STAR House is just one component of the County’s response to the Opiates crisis with Community Conversations, drug drop-off boxes, a new informational website, and more community outreach/education working to lower deaths in our community.

The Bob Sargeant & Family Animal Shelter and Adoption Center is also under construction through Westerheide Construction Company. Private donations in excess of $2.4 million are assisting in building the 8200 square foot facility. The new shelter will accommodate 60 dogs and cats and will have a ventilation, cooling, and heating system that will combat odor and humidity issues seen at the old shelter. A Community Outreach Center will facilitate numerous programs such as the low cost spay/neuter clinics, the low cost immunization clinics, and the TNR (trap-neuter-return) clinics.

Just beginning is the rehabilitation of the Fair Road Bridge that is located over the CSX railroad at the Sidney Middle School and Shelby County Fairgrounds. The structure originally was constructed in 1973 and has some deterioration of the concrete deck abutments and wing walls. Planning and design of this project began in 1998 and our County Engineer, Bob Geuy, has finally secured funding and all the necessary permits and agreements with the railroad. Some congestion is expected but traffic over the structure will be maintained at all times through two lanes during the project. The construction will continue thru November. The estimated cost of the project is $2,948,000 with funding coming from ODOT, Shelby County Bridge credits and local sales tax monies.

The year 2018 saw the Newport community have their sewage being transported to the County’s Wastewater Treatment Facility in Fort Loramie after years of planning and EPA orders. Construction of the collection system has been completed and residents have tied in thus no longer using private septic systems. Unrelated, the County’s Wastewater facility is undergoing plans to upgrade its processes to comply with new treatment standards.

The Shelby County Jail is being reviewed with plans utilizing K2M Design to upgrade the jail intake area in order to isolate the area in case there would be a release of drugs into the air. The project is necessary for the safety of the inhabitants and to ensure jail operations are not interrupted.

Other projects planned for 2019 include exterior repairs to the old jail, and roof replacement at the BMV and Titles offices.

Your County Commissioners will also be very engaged with our state legislators this year as they work on the state budget so that our local needs and priorities are recognized. We recognize the need for continually improving our infrastructure including roads, bridges, broadband, water and wastewater. We are committed to assisting our community tackle the scourge of drug-abuse. And we recognize the need to provide workforce training in order to attract and keep our youth engaged in our community.

We remain dedicated to serving the needs of our Shelby County residents. We welcome visitors to our sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays and remain available by appointment as well.


Julie Ehemann, far right, is sworn in to her third term as Shelby County Commissioner by Juvenile Judge Jeff Beigel, center, as her father Robert Rump, of New Bremen, holds a Bible at the Shelby County Courthouse. Ehemann, far right, is sworn in to her third term as Shelby County Commissioner by Juvenile Judge Jeff Beigel, center, as her father Robert Rump, of New Bremen, holds a Bible at the Shelby County Courthouse. SDN file photo