SIDNEY — The Shelby County Commissioners entered 2016 with caution in regards to the budget and anticipated revenues.
“Our instincts were on track as sales tax increased by only 2 percent over revenues received in 2015,” said Commissioner Julie Ehemann. “With changes made at the State level, the County is very reliant on sales tax with it comprising approximately 30 percent of General Fund Revenues.”
Her report continues:
In addition, the portion of money received from the State in Local Government Funds did not meet the State’s projections falling $8,946 short. Shelby County’s receipts from the State in LGF for 2016 totaled $651,054.
A bright spot in the County’s revenues was seen in the Sheriff’s contracts with the jail housing out-of-county prisoners and federal prisoners. Those two items contributed $922,960 to the general fund.
Overall the County General Fund had revenues totaling $16,465,049. The year 2016 was the first one since 2007 that a transfer from Permanent Funds was not required to allow the county to make obligations in the beginning of the year.
The Commissioners were able to make some necessary improvements to county infrastructure including:
• Wagner Paving Inc did repairs to the parking lot at the jail and Sheriff’s Office at a cost of $45,795
• Updates to emergency communications infrastructure continue to be necessary with over $90,000 invested in the past year.
• Eck refrigeration replaced the jail kitchen exhaust fan ($5,975)
• The jail showers had ductwork and an exhaust fan added through Regal Plumbing & Heating ($9,266)
• Portico lighting for the Courthouse was updated through Dickman GES ($3,896)
• Water controls for the toilets in the jail were replaced along with upgrading associated software controls used by the corrections officers ($139,866)
• The Courthouse tower had leaks and other repairs completed by Midwest Maintenance ($42,000)
• A new fingerprint machine was purchased from Dataworks Plus at a cost of $22,835
After the completion of the Courthouse Legacy Project, the Commissioners hosted a celebration and open house on Father’s Day to allow the public the opportunity to see the upgrades. Several hundred people attended with the Sidney Civic Band playing and the Dairy Boosters serving ice cream. As a reminder these improvements are being paid for over a 5-year period and included new HVAC, windows, painting, lighting, sidewalks, a fire detection system, and masonry repair.
The Commissioners approved the purchase of electronic signature pads to be used by the Board of Elections and voters will be using them beginning in 2017.
The EMA Board(Emergency Management Agency) voted to contract again with Hyper-reach for its mass communication notification system. Citizens are reminded to sign up by calling 937-265-8400 or through the link on the County’s website (co.shelby.oh.us).
After much discussion, a county land bank was formed and officially named the Shelby County Land Reutilization Corporation. Per ORC guidelines, the Board consists of Linda Meininger (Shelby County Treasurer), Robert Guillozet (Commissioner), Julie Ehemann (Commissioner), Mike Barhorst (Mayor of Sidney), and Dave Voisard (Community representative). The Shelby County Land Reutilization Corporation has been awarded a grant for reimbursement of expenses related to the tearing down and reallocation of properties through the Neighborhood Initiative Program. The Board anticipates moving 50 blighted properties through this program over the next 2 years.
The County continues to prepare for the construction of a wastewater collection system in Newport with plans to treat Newport’s sewage at the Fort Loramie Wastewater Treatment Facility. Easements have been procured and construction will begin on the $4 million project in 2017.
Other upcoming projects include the installation of new grandstands at the fairgrounds and Fairhaven’s plans to demolish and build new patient rooms at the County Nursing Home. Plans are being developed to update the HVAC and other items at the County Annex.
The Commissioners continue to work with local entities to address the heroin and opiate addictions crisis in our community. Programs are in place to assist persons with counseling and medication-assisted treatment and we are working to address the shortage of treatment housing. Our local Department of Job and Family Services is working with families to help children affected by this scourge by placing them with appropriate kin or in foster homes.
For 2017, the County has projected General Fund revenues at $16,811,008. We are concerned with discussions at the State level that could seriously impact our sales tax and other revenues and we will continue to work with our legislators so they understand the County’s needs.
Your County Commissioners remain dedicated to serving the needs of the Shelby County residents. We welcome visitors to our sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays and remain available by appointment as well.