(Posted Oct. 10, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County Engineer’s Office received its first month’s worth of increased fuel taxes.
Earlier this year, the Ohio House and Senate passed legislation to raise the state’s fuel tax. The increase took effect on July 1. The tax rate on gasoline went up by 10.5 cents per gallon to 38.5 cents per gallon. The tax rate on diesel went up 19 cents per gallon to 47 cents per gallon.
The increase is expected to generate an additional $865 million per year for road work. The state gets 55 percent of those funds; the rest goes to counties, cities, villages and townships.
The state estimated that the annual increase at the county level would be $1.5 million per county. At the Oct. 8 Madison County commissioners meeting, Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume reported that his office received $105,000 from the increase for the month of July. The state distributed those funds in September, a month ahead of schedule.
The commissioners approved the appropriation of the funds into the Engineer’s Office budget. Dhume said he is assigning $45,000 to road contracts, $45,000 to road materials, and $15,000 to other road expenses, such as signs and safety improvements.
Brian Arledge, Mount Sterling’s new village administrator, paid a visit to the commissioners to introduce himself. He has served as administrator since July. He and the commissioners talked about how the county and the village can work together.
Commissioner Mark Forrest encouraged Arledge to reach out to the firm that handles the county’s state grant funding applications to review possibilities for additional Community Development Block Grant funds for Mount Sterling.
Rob Slane, county administrator, said he approached village leaders six to eight months ago about the county and the village sharing services where possible, such as equipment use. He said the proposal had not gained traction.
“I encourage you to dust it off and take a look at it again,” Slane said, adding that he had calculated the village would save $40,000 to $50,000 through the proposed shared services.
Arledge said the village has some assets that might be useful to the county in such an arrangement.
Slane also noted that Madison and Union counties are working on an initiative that aims to increase the area’s natural gas capacity. Several entities have joined a coalition that is pushing the cause. Slane said Mount Sterling is the only village in Madison County that has not joined the coalition.
The commissioners signed a proclamation designating October as National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month. Representatives of MATCO Industries were on hand for the signing.
MATCO is a non-profit corporation that provides employment and other support to individuals with developmental disabilities. The corporation has two locations, including one at 204 Maple St., London, that repackages snacks for distribution to stores throughout the United States and processes large recycling projects. The other location, 460 E. High St., London, serves as MATCO’s assembly division; the primary clients there are Stanley Electric and E.G. Industries. Additionally, a small enclave of MATCO consumers work at Toagosei America, the Krazy Glue Co., in West Jefferson.
MATCO was established in 1973 and for many years was affiliated with the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The organization privatized about 20 years ago. According to Van Viney, MATCO’s CEO, all counties must privatize such services by 2024 to comply with changes in Medicaid law.
Two long-time MATCO consumers, Keith Farris and Jeff Horn, attended the proclamation signing, along with Viney and Priscilla McKenzie, program coordinator.
“We appreciate all the hard work you do,” Commissioner David Hunter told Farris and Horn.