Commissioners approve 2019 appropriations; county projects to begin

DARKE COUNTY – Darke County Commissioners on Wednesday approved the 2019 appropriations as presented by county auditor Carol Ginn.

For the past few months, all county departments have been working with commissioners to make cuts to their 2019 budgets.

In July, commission was notified by Ginn that there would be a shortfall to contend with for 2019, primarily as a result of the loss of revenue from Medicare and Medicaid taxes, as well as other unfunded state mandates.

On Wednesday, commissioners approved 2019 appropriations in the amount of $22,566,915.60.

According to Ginn, this total reflects a decrease in the amount of $1,544,619.75 over the 2018 appropriations of $24,111,535.35.

Including all outside funds, the 2019 appropriations for Darke County totals $68,887,134.77.

The estimated revenue for the 2019 Darke County General Fund is $16,410,655.16 – a decrease of $2,193,715.99 over the 2018 estimated revenue of $18,604,370.25.

Commissioners said they are hopeful Governor-elect Mike DeWine will take a close look at the loss in revenue Ohio’s counties are facing.

According to Commissioner Mike Rhoades, during a recent meeting with county commissioners in Columbus, DeWine said he would be looking into “trying to get (Medicaid/Medicare) funding back.”

Also Wednesday, commissioners passed a resolution amending an earlier agreement with Mote & Associates concerning the renovations of the courthouse steps and entrance project – now referred to as Steps Replacement Project – Security Vestibule Addition.

The modifications include providing additional engineering design services for a separate exterior security entrance structure and related exterior security lighting.

The breakdown is as follows:

* Exterior security lighting of courthouse and county administration building: $3,000

* Obtain site/building information: $2,500

* Design/structural engineering: $27,000

* Bidding: $5,000

* Limited construction: hourly upon request

* Post-construction: hourly upon request

A tentative schedule also was approved as follows:

* Bidding Phase: January 2019

* Award contract: February 2019

* Construction Phase: February 2019 through July 2019

Also, as reported last week, another 2019 project commissioners have approved includes several upgrades to take place at the Darke County Airport. To pay for the renovations, which will include upgrades to airport taxiways and a new airport entrance, commission will be applying for a FAA entitlement grant in the amount of $211,500.

The project is estimated to cost $235,000.

An additional 5 percent of the project cost will come from a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation.

The county’s portion of the project is 5 percent of the total cost, or $11,750.

If the county does not apply for the FAA grant, the money will go to projects taking place in other jurisdictions, said Susan Laux, grant and funding specialist with Mote & Associates.

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