Miami County prepares for cuts


By Sam Wildow - Miami Valley Today



MIAMI COUNTY — The Board of Miami County Commissioners met on Thursday, preparing to lay off one of their clerks by the end of this month, as well as discussing cuts for other departments that receive funding through the county’s general fund.

On Thursday morning, the commissioners approved laying off one of their clerks in response to expected revenue losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The layoff will be effective May 29.

The commissioners also discussed sending a letter to all departments that receive funding from the county’s general fund, asking the administrators of those departments to find 5-8 percent of expenses in their respective budgets that they can be prepared to cut if necessary.

“It’s going to be a working document that’s going to be put into place (if necessary),” commissioner Ted Mercer said.

Commissioners’ Administrator Leigh Williams said the county received Ohio Department of Taxation data from the County Commissioners Association of Ohio with preliminary sales data, which shows Miami County was down 4 percent in its March 2020 sales tax numbers compared to numbers from March 2019. This does not include auto sales or sales tax on motor fuel.

Neighboring counties have seen decreases of 11 percent in Shelby County, 5 percent in Montgomery County, 5 percent in Clark County, 1 percent in Darke County, and less than 1 percent in Champaign County. The county in Ohio with the largest decrease was Monroe County with a 39 percent decrease, and Paulding County saw an increase of 26 percent. Clinton County saw an increase of 52 percent, but its sales tax rate was different in March 2020 than in March 2019. Overall, the state of Ohio saw a decrease of 7 percent in these preliminary sales tax numbers for March.

In other news:

In his weekly COVID-19 update for the commissioners, Miami County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Joel Smith discussed the increase in positive COVID-19 tests the county has seen, noting that was due to increased antibody testing. Smith said Miami County Public Health will be continuing to increase its testing capacity, so the county will be looking at other congregate areas to do testing, such as the Miami County Jail and Incarceration Facility.

“Our focus would be on the jail in the next couple of weeks,” Smith said.

Also on Thursday, the commissioners authorized and signed a grant agreement that will provide state funds to family abuse and homeless shelters in the region. The state of Ohio Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Target of Opportunity Program grant agreement is in the amount of $91,900. This emergency operations grant is for family abuse and homeless shelters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will allow shelters in this region to provide hotel vouchers, etc. in order to reduce congestion and allow for social distancing at the shelters.

This regional grant would be administered by the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County, however the CDBG funds are required to pass through a governmental organization — which will be the Board of Miami County Commissioners — as shelters are set up as non-profits. The grant period is from March 9 through Nov. 30. A forthcoming memorandum of understanding with the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County will outline the terms of their usage of these funds and will be overseen by the Miami County Department of Development.

The commissioners also approved an LPA Federal Local-Let Project Agreement for the construction of the Washington Road Resurfacing Project, in which Miami County Engineer Paul Huelskamp will process the design and construction contracts through the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The commissioners then accepted a quote from Applied Digital Solutions (ADS), Louisville, Ky., authorizing the Miami County Communication Center to purchase annual maintenance services for their NICE NRX over-the-air recording system. This recording system records public safety radio traffic on the Miami County simulcast radio system. ADS is the only source for maintenance with remote monitoring capabilities. The cost for a three-year period is as follows: year one (2020-2021) will be $3,141.14; year 2 (2021-2022) will be $3,235.38; and year 3 (2022-2023) will be $3,332.44.

By Sam Wildow

Miami Valley Today

Reach the writer at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. © 2020 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.

Reach the writer at swildow@aimmediamidwest.com. © 2020 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.