Recently the Scioto County Commissioners took the time to reflect on the accomplishments of 2016 and what they hope to accomplish in 2017.
When reflecting on the year, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners Mike Crabtree said, “2016 was not a bad year. We ended the year with positive growth, we came out being $400,000 ahead of sales tax revenues.”
Crabtree said the Scioto County Commissioners joined with commissioners from around the region in advocating for funding at the Piketon Department Of Energy site.
“We’ve had a lot of support from our senators and congressman on this issue. Everybody has been working hard together and we’re trying to make things happen here in southern Ohio,” Crabtree said. “The reality is we’re in a lot better shape than we’ve been in, in the past by far. We could only hope that in 2017 we would continue to grow.”
There are a number of issues facing the commissioners that could have a negative impact on the county.
The state of Ohio is being required by the federal government to rethink the way it has collected a portion of sales tax. The result could see a reduction of $2 million dollars in revenue for Scioto County.
The commissioners have been aware of this issue for some time and have started to be conservative in spending or commitments to future projects.
In Scioto County, the impact of this reduction is anticipated to be enacted in the latter part of 2017 and take full effect in 2018.
“The only thing we can do is hope the powers that be can come up with a solution,” Crabtree said. “In the meantime we have to prepare ourselves in case things turn sour, we do not want to wait until the last minute assuming something is going to be done.”
Crabtree said the county should be ok through 2017, but 2018 will be a challenge.
Crabtree pointed out the construction of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway has meant higher than normal sales tax revenues for the county and more opportunities for development.
He said there are a lot of workers on the project that spends money on a number of things and a lot of materials and supplies being bought locally, helping to support the local economy.
Also in 2016 the commissioners and the county experienced the death of Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman and the appointment of his wife Cathy Coleman to fill his term. In November the voters of Scioto County elected her to her own term.
Coleman said she has seen a lot of positive things since being appointed and elected commissioner.
“There is a lot going on with the bypass (Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway) and the (Greater Portsmouth Regional) airport. These two guys (fellow commissioners Crabtree and Bryan Davis) are top notch,” Coleman said.
Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis said the commissioners will continue to fight for the jobs in Piketon along with others in the community.
“This past year, there were some good victories and as long as we can keep employment up out there (Piketon site), I think you have to consider that a victory,” Davis said.
Davis said he was looking at the unemployment rate in the county, he said four years ago the county had an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent.
“At the end of October we were at 6.8 percent,” Davis said. “You have to look at that as a win, is it where it needs to be, no. I look for it to go down even further in 2017.”
The commissioners went on to express joy in the development at the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport and look forward to a continued relationship with the Southern Ohio Port Authority and other community partners in the coming year.
For more information about the office and responsibilities of the office of Scioto County Commissioners visit, sciotocountydirectory.net/scodc/commissioners.html
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter