Highland County Engineer Dean Otworth visited the county commissioners at their weekly meeting Wednesday to promote the renewal of Issue I, an issue that will be presented to the state’s voters during the primary election in November.
Otworth said that in its previous 27 years, Issue 1 has provided funds for 112 projects in Highland County, including projects at the county, city, village and township levels. He said Issue 1 has provided $25.2 million for those projects, and that with local matching funds, it was produced $76.33 million for repairs to streets, water and sewer systems, bridges, and more in the county.
“If we don’t have OPWC (Ohio Public Works Commission) and some other sources of funding, we’re not going to be doing those types of infrastructure repair that we need to do because we won’t have the money to do them,” Otworth said.
“It’s been a godsend to us on making a lot of improvements and doing work we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do,” he added.
Otworth said the proposed 10-year renewal of Issue 1 would not raise taxes. He said bonds are issued on a 10-year basis and that funds to repay Issue 1 are already built into future state budgets.
Issue 1 will provide an additional 35,000 construction and related jobs over the next decade and will help attract business to Ohio by ensuring the state has the infrastructure to support it, the Strong Ohio Communities website says.
The commissioners approved a resolution supporting Otworth’s request for support of the issue.
In other news, Otworth told the commissioners that bridge replacement projects scheduled for Tolle and Holladay roads, just west of Hillsboro, will likely take place in the spring or summer of 2015.
The commissioners unanimously approved a request by Otworth to purchase 2,000 tons of salt. Otworth said he has secured a deal with Morton Salt that will allow him to purchase approximately $92,000 worth of salt at 2013 prices.
“The reason I’m doing that is that I anticipate salt prices going up with the huge demand we have because of last winter, and this will allow us to fill our depleted salt barns with salt on this year’s prices,” Otworth said.
Jeff Gilliland may be reached at 937-393-3456 ext. 209 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.