By Charles Schowchow
Sandusky County Commissioners Last year, I gave a report to our com mu n it y rega rdi ng accomplishments our county had made for the year. As President of the Sandusky County Commissioners, I am proud to issue a report for this year. 2017 was a year that had many projects in the works. I feel privileged to report that our courthouse $5.7 million project renovation is now completed. We updated the electrical system, heating and air conditioning, along with the building security system. We can now serve the public in a modern and safe environment while preserving the character of this great historic building.
The Sandusky County Land Reutilization Corporation, or land bank, is working hard to tackle our problem of delinquent taxes. As of today, the Land Bank has acquired 63 parcels. We have demoed 15 abandoned homes with 5 more on the list, working in partnership with WSOS and a NIP grant. The Land Bank has sold 16 parcels to date. If anyone is interested in learning more about this program, please go to the county’s website. Go to Elected Officials, Treasurer, and then Land Bank. The properties are listed, and more information can be read about the land bank.
2017 was a year in which the County Commissioners, along with Fremont City Council and Mayor Danny Sanchez, partnered up in the technology world. We are helping the city in upgrading their efforts, which will be savings for Fremont. We understand their needs and will subcontract our techs to do this work. The county was able to hire an extra tech because of the agreement, thus making a stronger IT department for the county.
We are in the beginning phases of centralizing our 911 dispatch. A partnership in this area will be very important. Cost savings will be felt in our county by all involved. As commissioners we feel this is a direction that will benefit the county residents in response time. With the passing of the Drug Task Force Levy, the public has elected to also set up a partnership between all law enforcement in the county. This group will work diligently to deter the large drug dealings that are overwhelmingly contributing to the heroin and opioid addictions in our county. This problem is also contributing to our child placement expenses from Family Services in which we are mandated to pay from our general fund. Three years ago, it was $500,000 per year. Now it is over $1 million per year.
We all understand the county budget is our number one priority as county commissioners. The state changed the Medicaid tax laws this year, shorting the county approximately $750,000. We have just finished setting up our budget for 2018. This year we worked with all of our local agencies to adjust our expenses to meet a balanced budget of $18,252,653.01, with a carryover of $700,000.
This will be another challenging year. As commissioners we will continue to analyze and monitor our county situations. We will work toward a future that benefits everyone in our county and reach to implement good ideas and show positive outcomes. In closing, I would like to say that fellow commissioners Kay Reiter, Scott Miller and myself take great pleasure in serving Sandusky County.
Schwochow is president of the Sandusky County Commissioners. For questions, email Schwochow at firstname.lastname@example.org. oh.us.