Commissioners propose Clinton County projects for Ohio Capital Budget

By Gary Huffenberger -

Ohio Rep. Wilkin

Ohio Rep. Wilkin

Ohio Sen. Peterson

WILMINGTON — A backup generator for the county Annex facility and a storage building for emergency response equipment are two of the more likely project proposals Clinton County commissioners will submit to Columbus to consider for the 2020-21 Ohio Capital Budget.

The State of Ohio’s biennial Capital Budget, enacted in each even-numbered year, provides funds for eligible capital improvements. On the other hand, funding for state highways, bridges and other transportation construction is appropriated through a biennial Transportation Budget, enacted in odd-numbered years.

Clinton County’s representatives in the Statehouse — State Sen. Bob Peterson and State Rep. Shane Wilkin — visited commissioners Monday as part of the early process of enacting a Capital Budget.

Peterson liked the suggestion of a backup generator for the county Annex facility on South Nelson Avenue. That’s in part because a project is supposed to have a link to the State of Ohio because funding for most capital projects is supported by long-term debt issued by the state.

And the Annex has several links to the state. Among the occupants housed at the Annex Building are The Ohio State University Extension Office, the Clinton County Board of Elections which has close ties to the Ohio Secretary of State, the Clinton Soil and Water Conservation District which is a legal subdivision of the State of Ohio under the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and the Clinton County Health Department which is one of 113 local health departments that are part of the public health system in Ohio.

Another reason to have a backup generator at the Annex is that the Annex is the county’s designated backup Emergency Operations Center or EOC (the patrol room in the sheriff’s office facility is the primary county EOC).

One type of project eligible for Capital Budget dollars is emergency response infrastructure, and accordingly Clinton County commissioners mentioned a new garage to house Clinton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) equipment as a possible project to pursue.

Clinton County EMA Director Tom Breckel said Tuesday that currently county EMA equipment is kept at different locations, and a centralized location would offer convenience.

Of those two ideas — a backup generator for the Annex and a garage for EMA equipment — Clinton County Commissioner Mike McCarty said the generator would take priority for him. Counties are not limited to one project proposal, and others were brought up Monday.

Those included the deteriorating culvert box in which a creek goes under the Courthouse Square block (but not the courthouse building) in downtown Wilmington. Typically, county courthouses are not eligible for state bond funding, but “watershed flood control” is listed as an eligible project type, noted McCarty.

Sen. Peterson brought up the Wilmington Air Park as a candidate for Capital Budget funds, commenting it has some needs and has received Capital Budget dollars in the past.

That led McCarty to remark — while acknowledging it may not fit into eligibility criteria — the need to resurface Airborne Road.

The roadway “is kind of our front door to the air park,” the commissioner said. “I’d love to find a way to get it resurfaced with Amazon there. I’m afraid of what that road is going to look like after the winter.”

Shortly after Peterson began his appointment with commissioners, he said he knows of the pool project in Blanchester, and inquired what additional projects commissioners had in mind.

In December 2017 when Peterson made a similar visit regarding Ohio’s 2018-19 Capital Budget, county commissioners talked up a proposed Blanchester Pool and Recreation Center project. A handout distributed by Peterson on Monday listed both “swim pools, splash pads, aquatic centers” and “community recreational facilities” as among the type of projects eligible for the funding.

The deadline to submit project proposals is Jan. 10, 2020.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Ohio Rep. Wilkin Rep. Wilkin

Ohio Sen. Peterson Sen. Peterson

By Gary Huffenberger