GALLIPOLIS — Ohio State Sen. Bob Peterson of District 17 stopped by the Gallia County Courthouse on Thursday to discuss county and state matters with the Gallia County Board of Commissioners.
Peterson, who has served as a county commissioner in the past, shared experiences and opinions with board president Brent Saunders, vice-president Harold Montgomery and commissioner David Smith, as well as Gallipolis City Commission President Tony Gallagher, Gallipolis City Manager Gene Greene and Gallia County Board of Elections Director Jeff Halley.
All local government officials posed questions as to state funding and how it would effect the potential future of the county. Gallia County Commissioners shared concerns with Peterson about legislation and funding involving sewer line projects and hookups.
Greene and Gallagher discussed concerns with the passage of House Bill 5 and how that would effect city funding as well as other legislation that could effect city income revenue. A potential bill is being discussed in Ohio state Legislature that might make so that individuals who work but do not live in a municipality would not have to pay that municipality’s income tax. Officials are concerned with how this would effect city funding and services.
Peterson said a voter initiative would be a deciding factor on the issue.
Halley discussed concerns with government elections trending toward using optical scan voting systems and how that would cost the county money in replacing traditional voting machines with an already limited budget around $250,000.
Next, officials discussed a capital improvement budget and local construction projects with a state connection that could help the area. The idea of helping fund the Gallipolis waterfront project was brought before Peterson, as well as the upcoming construction of Holzer Health and Wellness Center. Commissioner David Smith said a place not unlike a YMCA that could serve as a place for community members to exercise and maintain a healthier lifestyle would be considerably beneficial to the area.
The Gallia County Work Release Center was also brought up in conversation. Peterson confirmed that state capital funds could only be used for construction projects, however.
Commissioners brought up concerns with Peterson about the $2 billion “rainy day” fund surplus Ohio now has and how and if it could or would be spent on local government projects.
Peterson thanked officials for sharing their concerns while taking notes. Nothing definite appeared to be decided upon at the meeting beyond an exchange of ideas.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, ext. 2103.