MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Commissioners Ted Mercer and Greg Simmons focused on the county’s progress during the annual “State of the County” legislative luncheon at the Fort Piqua Plaza on Friday.
The event was presented by the Miami County Chambers of Commerce’s Piqua, Tipp City and Troy Legislative Committee.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to work with all of you,” said Simmons, noting the county’s “team work” and willingness to “work together.”
Commissioner Jack Evans was unable to attend the event.
The commissioners honored the long-time service of two county employees. Miami County Clerk of Courts Jan Mottinger has served for 43 years. Miami County Sheriff’s Office Billie Ray will retire at end of the month after more than 50 years of service law enforcement in Miami County.
Commissioners also shared the design and layout of the Miami County Courthouse plaza project.
Simmons said the courthouse plaza project will be a “magnificent to see” as part of the city of Troy’s “living room.” The details include pavers, which will mirror the pattern in the large courtroom on the third floor of the building.
Mercer recognized the 822 “dedicated” employees who work for the county.
“We’re very fortunate for our workforce. We have a lot of dedicated people in Miami County and that’s one of our greatest assets,” Mercer said.
Mercer reviewed the county’s $34 million operating budget and said the county will have a small carryover for next year’s operations, which he said was “just good government.”
Both Simmons and Mercer took turns highlighting each county department’s accomplishments and improvements during their presentation. This is a few of those highlights noted in the presentation:
• Miami County Treasurer Jim Stubbs Office’s new “Early Outreach” program for first-time delinquent tax payers.
• Miami County Auditor Matthew Gearhardt’s leadership in implementing the “Ohio Checkbook” program, which publishes the county’s financial records online.
• Miami County Engineer’s Office paved 22 miles of county roads and replaced five bridges in 2019. The county is responsible for 423.7 miles of roadways and 342 bridges. Mercer said Miami County’s roads “are better than most,” and he appreciates the continued support of the bridge tax.
• Commissioner Simmons said the Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell and his staff have diligently worked on Ohio’s changing hemp laws. The office has reviewed 223 contracts and 69 legal opinions and collected $2.5 million in delinquent taxes, as well as prosecuted hundreds of felony cases in Common Pleas Court.
• Miami County Coroner’s Office’s Dr. William Ginn has recorded 14 overdose deaths so far in 2019. Ginn also is working with coroners around the state to identify vape-related cases.
• Miami County Probate and Juvenile Court has expanded its Crops for Change program with the Lincoln Community Center. Piqua juvenile probation also expanded its programs for minors.
• Miami County Common Pleas Court has focused on implementing Ohio’s new sentencing laws for certain felony offenses. The court also will transition to leading its own probation department in 2020. Commissioners will travel with Judge Jeannine Pratt and Judge Stacy Wall to the Ohio Supreme Court to learn more about how the county will transition from the state-run program in 2020.
•The Miami County Municipal Drug Court Program has been awarded the Ohio Supreme Court’s Specialized Docket Certification.
• Job and Family Services took over the county’s Children Services department.
• Commissioners reported a new EMA director will replace the late Kenny Artz in the coming weeks.
• The Miami County fairgrounds received funds for paving and roof repair from the commissioners. Simmons said the commissioners are supportive of the efforts of the 4-H members.
• The animal shelter hired a Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputy to work at the shelter full-time. The shelter also received a grant from the Robinson Fund for a shade structure over the kennels.
• The sheriff’s office employs 115 staff members. The commissioners also highlighted the School Resource Officer’s successful Safe-T-Town summer program held at county schools. Detective Todd Cooper trained with the Secret Service and received $70,000 in equipment to extract data from items such as cell phones. The department will also add a drone to its equipment next year. The Incarceration Facility has generated $700,000 in two years from outside agencies who house inmates in Miami County.
The county commissioners meet twice a week at the Miami County Safety Building. Their meetings are held at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. Work sessions are held at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com
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