As the month of September comes to a close, we are reminded that colder weather is just around the corner. This has certainly been a nice cool spring and summer, and if the Farmer’s Almanac is correct, we are in for a cold, snowy winter. But for now, let’s enjoy the fall colors, the cooler weather, all the High School sports, First Fridays, First Mondays, and all the remaining festivals in the county. Darke County is one of the prettiest places in the fall.
September has been busy here in the Commissioner’s office. As the State and Federal budget times come closer to being due, a lot of the paperwork we have sent to them is now coming back to us to be signed, approved, reworked, etc. before the deadlines. The problem we incur mostly is they wait until the last minute to send us the documents that they want back yesterday! However, with the help of our people, we are getting it done on time. One example is the Darke County Airport. On Monday, September 22nd, we received our grant paperwork to purchase the land at the Airport. This grant from the F.A.A. for $822,465.00 was announced the week before. When we received the paperwork, we discovered it had to be back at our Regional office, which is Romulus, Michigan, by TUESDAY the 23rd at 1:00 p.m.! The choices for us became, send by e-mail, next day air, or take it up ourselves. After a short discussion, we decided to take it up and hand-present it to make sure they got it on time. Thanks to Commissioner Delaplane and Jeff Marshall for leaving on short notice and taking it to the Regional office and making sure our grant acceptance paperwork got there on time. Jeff really did a lot of work to get the paperwork ready to take up to Michigan. As we have stated before, our people do great work in all departments. They work hard with little recognition, and a lot of times our Elected Officials work very late with no extra pay. All of our people need to know how much they are appreciated, so if you see one of our County employees, please take the time to thank them for the oftentimes thankless job they do.
One of our departments doing an excellent job this year is Ditch Maintenance. Jeff McMiller and his crew, Joseph Bruening, Kenneth Forsythe, Donna Schilling, and John Schrader, have done a tremendous job of cleaning up ditches this year. In 2012, the department cleaned and maintained 55 ditches. This year, as of September, they have worked on 92 ditches! This is one of the departments that people know little about, and do not appreciate as much as they should. Our Ditch Maintenance department takes care of 261.56 miles of open and tiled ditches in the County. They mow, spray, and clean out the silt on our ditches to make sure our valuable land drains properly. Thank You to these fine individuals for a much needed job well done!
Besides all of the last minute paperwork, Darke County continues to be a leader in the State in job growth, retention and expansion. Almost 1600 jobs have been retained or created in the last 3 years, and with the massive expansion of Whirlpool, the Greenville K-8 School, Koenig Equipment, JAFE Glass, Reid Hospital and others, the future looks bright for the County. We continually talk about workforce development, and as we continue to grow, it becomes vital to our companies to have qualified workers. This effort will continue to be paramount for us. We are in contact with the State of Ohio and others to come and see our efforts, and to help us with grants to grow this area. So far, the State Treasurer’s office has been very receptive of our efforts, and we await a decision from them on their help. We recently had our 22nd graduation of the “Take Charge Of Your Life” class. This introduction, and in some cases, reintroduction to the workforce, has a success rate of over 70% in finding employment for people or advancing them on to more education. Thanks to Lori Simpson, the instructor, John Hefner, and the Economic Development office for this highly successful program.
September is the official end of summer. As we close out the last few months of the year, make a note to come to one of our weekly open sessions. We meet every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s office located at 520 South Broadway in Greenville, just south of the courthouse. Hope to see you there!
The Darke County Commissioners