Commissioners Corner – January 2015

The New Year, like every year, brings fresh hope for better things. We celebrate the end of one year and all that it possessed, and we look with anticipation for new and better things ahead. The year 2014 was a very good year for the Commissioners, and for Darke County as a whole. We, like you, look forward to see what the year 2015 will bring us. A duplication of 2014, with a few minor additions, would be very nice!!

The New Year starts out with the Commissioners being very busy. We have had a ton of purchase orders to put our signatures to, and with our reorganization in the office, Mike Rhoades, the veteran of the group, is once again the Chairman. Mike Stegall moves up to Vice Chairman, and Diane Delaplane becomes a Member, after her stint last year as Chairman. With that reorganization, we decided to keep everyone of us on the same committees and groups as last year. As for the past several years, John Cook remains the County Business Administrator, while Robin Blinn is the Administrative Clerk/Secretary, and Patty Harter, the person who greets everyone at the door with a smile, is the Assistant Clerk/ Secretary. This is a veteran group that is a tremendous help to the Commissioners, and we thank them for all the hard work. With reorganization done, we have had numerous meetings with different people and groups that are of tremendous importance to the County. We, of course are meeting with people who want to do business in our county, and we have a few promising leads. Our duties also include representing the County with other organizations. On January 26th, Mike Rhoades and Marc Saluk, the Economic Development Director, represented us at the Versailles Chamber annual meeting. Congratulations to retiring Fire Chief Bob Frey for his many years of service and for being the Versailles Citizen of the year, an honor well deserved. The Commissioners thank you for your devotion to your community and to Darke County. On that same evening, Mike Stegall and Diane Delaplane represented Darke County at the Annual Dayton Development Coalition Annual meeting. Darke County is a member of this group, and they along with JOBS OHIO, have been very helpful in the tremendous growth we have seen in Darke County the last few years. Jeff Hoagland the Chairman of the Coalition gave a speech on what was in store for 2015, and the key word for the evening was “Innovation.” There seems to be a lot of good things happening and we will keep you posted as they develop in our region. These events lead to a very busy schedule of meetings in other Counties, and with other groups, so this time of year keeps us hopping!

Economically, we seem to be moving along nicely. I know a lot of people are worried about J.C.Penney and Big Lots leaving, but hopefully in the future the city can make an announcement about Penney’s and we can make an announcement very shortly about the Big Lots space. Dollar General is looking to build a new store on the South end of town, and that may spur more growth there, along with Reid Hospital and Wayne Healthcare’s expansions. Our businesses are still hiring, as Whirlpool, JAFE glass, PolyOne, Fram and Reid Hospital among all the others are done with or are working on their expansions. We have a lot of expansion going on, and as we state every month, workforce is the key. Lisa Wendel the Career Pathway Coordinator, is working tirelessly with our companies and schools and colleges, making sure we have enough qualified workers for the companies. Marc Saluk, the Director, never sleeps! Marc has done, and is doing, a tremendous job and he is truly one of the unsung heroes in the County. His organizing and structuring of the E.D. office have made Darke County one of the best Counties in the State as far as economic growth is concerned. Thanks to the whole office, Marc, Lisa, and the glue that holds it together, Melanie Nealeigh, for all you do. Marc has more planned and will let us know at the annual ‘Partnering for Progress Economic Development Forum’ in March. Anyone can join, and if you want to be a member of this fantastic group of business people, schools, and colleges and companies, you are more than welcome. Contact the E.D. office for more information at 937-548-3250.

The New Year and its hopes of bigger and better things is now underway. The future looks bright as we move ahead with our lives, and our communities continue to prosper. If you would like to find out more, you may come to one of our meetings. We meet every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Office, 520 S. Broadway in Greenville, just south of the Courthouse. Make it a resolution to come to at least one meeting this year and see how your County government works. You can keep tabs on us also by our Facebook page, Darke County Ohio, or our website that details our meetings, mydarkecountyohio.com. Hope to see you there!!

The Darke County Commissioners