TROY — County Commissioner Greg Simmons served as guest speaker at the monthly veterans breakfast held at Miami Valley Veterans Museum on Wednesday in Troy.
Simmons, who was elected November 2016 for a four-year term commencing January 2017, discussed progressive county projects his office has worked on across the last year, as well as projects being developed for the future.
Simmons first highlighted safety building and courthouse security, an issue that was a primary concern of his before even being elected.
“We’re the only county in the area that does not have proper security,” Simmons said. “With the world that we live in today and the different things happening, I felt like the county was just waiting for something to happen before they’d do something.
“There’s a lot of people working in those buildings, and to be frank, they’re scared sometimes. The Sheriff occasionally has to be called in to remove angry people from the premises. We called the Supreme Court of Ohio, who came in with their services to survey the properties, and right now we’re in the final stages of securing the buildings. I think that’ll offer safety not only for the employees, but for residents coming into them.”
Simmons also outlined a desire to revamp the plaza separating the safety building and courthouse.
“We don’t have the money for it right now, but yesterday we approved for engineering to estimate what it’ll cost,” Simmons confirmed. “On the plaza, there’s a lot of little steps, and we have people falling every year. Whoever planned that plaza didn’t give much thought to certain people having trouble navigating it. It’s also very hard in the winter to keep off snow and ice.”
Simmons explained that over $1 million has been put into the jail located downtown, and that it is currently a maximum-security facility for felony cases as opposed to the 25-A facility’s medium-security measures.
“When they built the new jail, they should have made it bigger,” Simmons said. “We have two jail staffs, and if we’d built it all together, and had maximum security out on 25-A, we’d have saved $4000 to $6000 in staffing costs per year.”
Simmons went on to discuss his role as liaison for the sheriff’s department and prosecutor’s office.
“They’re getting ready to sign a contract with the federal government to house federal inmates on 25-A,” Simmons said. “They’re going to start with around 20, and that’ll add money, too. I hope that soon we can stop throwing so much money into this pit next door, and focus more on that.”
Simmons also touched upon recent actions involving the closing of David L. Brown Youth Center, which was shut down due to a low volume of residential usage, and is currently being appraised for re-sale. He also expressed a desire to relocate the county’s auto title, license, and exam offices to a facility with better parking and lower rent.
Simmons went on to discuss annual budget.
“Our budget for the county is around $30 million a year,” Simmons said. “That doesn’t include the engineer’s office, which does the roads and bridges and paving.”
Simmons explained that at 2017’s end, the county was able to carry over $1.3 million.
$17 million is currently stored in a “rainy day fund,” a stock which Simmons feels can soon be put to good use.
“I don’t want that to get too big,” Simmons said. “I think it’s important to do some things with our funds to improve the county. All things take the time they take, though, and I’m just one vote.”
Simmons, who served over four years in the U.S. Navy before directing government agencies for 26 years, expressed his gratitude to those in attendance for their service to the country and community.
“One of the things I’m really proud of is the service that I did to my country,” Simmons proclaimed. “Once you finish your service, you have such a pride in your heart for your country, you want to continue giving back to your community and make a difference in the area you live in. That started for me from boot camp onward, and it’s never left me. This is the best group of people I’ve been around in a long time.”
For more information on county commissioners, visit www.co.miami.oh.us.
For more information on the monthly veterans breakfast, visit www.miamivalleyveteransmuseum.com.
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