PIQUA — The Miami County chambers of commerce held the annual State of the County luncheon at the Fort Piqua Plaza on Tuesday, with Miami County commissioners highlighting the economy, finances, and projects in the county.
“We have seen recovery,” Commissioner Richard Cultice said.
“Miami County is really coming back from the recession,” Commissioner Jack Evans said.
Both Cultice and Commissioner Bud O’Brien went over how the county has seen an increase in revenue from the sales tax.
“We have recovered,” O’Brien said about the 2008 recession. “We’ve done very well.”
O’Brien said that Miami County’s sales tax is the lowest of any county contiguous to Miami County. O’Brien added they have seen an increase of up to more than 5 percent in the revenue from the sales tax and the county is headed toward seeing a total revenue of over $14 million from the sales tax.
O’Brien later explained that they are expecting their sales tax to go down by $800,000-$850,000 due to new laws stating that they will not be able to tax Medicaid services. O’Brien said this is expected to impact the county’s budget surpluses that they have had for the past seven years, which have ranged between $300,000 and $1 million. The county operates on a $30 million budget.
Cultice also mentioned how the county has been able to build up its general fund balance.
“Right now, we’ve got about six months of reserve,” Cultice said.
A number of county projects, finances, and departments were quickly covered during the luncheon, including renovations to the county courthouse and safety building.
“We will remain proactive in the maintenance of our facilities,” O’Brien said, noting that building upkeep is a cost-saving measure to prevent one large payout to complete a major building renovation. He said that they are working to reconstruct the plaza outside of the courthouse to fix the tripping hazards as well as have interior maintenance done to the courthouse.
“We’re just the watchdog over them. They’re your buildings,” Evans said.
Evans also mentioned the new HVAC system at the Miami County Engineer’s Office. He also pointed out that the Miami County Engineer’s Office has paved over 22 miles of road this year and worked on 78 bridges.
Evans also commended a number of Miami County agencies, including Job and Family Services, the Treasurer’s Office, Probate and Juvenile Court, Adult Protection Services, and others.
O’Brien also remarked on Miami County agencies, especially noting ones that were run by elected officials. O’Brien said those officials worked hard to stay within their budgets. He added that it was due to the officials being “conservative in nature” that the county’s finances were protected.
O’Brien also noted that the county will continue to invest in technology advancements. “We will continue to keep our 911 system upgraded,” he said.
This year is also the last time these three commissioners will be working together on Miami County’s Board of Commissioners, as Gregory Simmons will be replacing Cultice next year. Goodbyes and thanks were given during the luncheon as the commissioners marked that coming departure.
“It’s been a pleasure working with these two commissioners,” Cultice said, adding that everything they have done has been in the “best interest” of the county residents. “Our whole staff has done a great job.”
“You’ve all benefited by his expertise,” Evans said about Cultice.
“His 30-plus years at Hobart Brothers gave him experiences that no other commissioner had that I can recall,” O’Brien said about Cultice. “He was able to draw from his years of corporate life and bring that information (and) skill set to the county.”
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