GREENVILLE – Darke County Commissioner Mike Stegall joined the residents of the Brethren Retirement Community on Friday for their February town hall meeting.
While there, he discussed the state of the county and welcomed a brief question and answer period after the meeting.
Initially, Stegall reviewed Ohio’s recent administrative initiatives and legislative acts.
“The state of Ohio is progressing,” he said. “We’re really very fortunate that we’re on the right track.”
Stegall pointed to recent statistics released by Governor Kasich’s offices which indicate that Ohio state agencies have reduced their staff levels by 7.6 percent without any loss of service.
“We’re doing more with less, because we have to,” Stegall said.
This was Stegall’s third year addressing the residents of the Brethren Retirement Community, and he said he enjoyed coming to speak with residents who didn’t always have a chance to come see him.
Stegall also spoke positively about the Ohio Turnpike project, state-wide job creation and Ohio’s finances.
“The best thing of all is that Ohio is out of debt. We have a surplus of 1.2 billion,” Stegall said. “And taxes weren’t raised to accomplish that.”
“Darke County is one of the luckiest counties around because we have the best elected officials in the state of Ohio. We have a great group, we really do. They work hard, they do more with less, and I’m not just staying that because I think it.”
Stegall said that officials in the Ohio County Commissioners Association vouch for the county’s ingenuity and progress.
“We’re leading in workforce development, and the state is following us in that,” Stegall said.
“We’re fortunate folks and I’m very proud.”
Stegall reviewed recent improvements to the Darke County Court House roof, Commissioner’s office roof and Darke County fair grounds roofs from hail damage.
“I think when I leave office, I’ll be known as the ‘Roof Commissioner,’” Stegall joked.
Stegall elaborated on past projects that included replacing the 60-year old boiler at Garst Avenue to garner a cost-savings within three years, as well as purchasing three new Sheriff cars and cleaning out the Sheriff’s Office air ducts to prevent contagion.
He then discussed building up the Darke County Emergency Management Agency to improve local response times and safety services, and building up the Darke County Solid Waste Department to host the state convention this year in Greenville.
“I’m trying to run this government like a business,” Stegall said. “We’re trying to run lean and mean. And so far we have.”
Towards the engagement, Stegall touched upon local unemployment rates and their gradual improvement.
“When I was elected commissioner in 2011, the unemployment rate in Darke County was 7.1 percent. It was unacceptable, and we all knew it,” he said. “We have been very fortunate to do things along with the state government to get people back to work. I’m proud to announce today that even though the federal unemployment rate was back up to 7.8 percent, the Darke County rate is now 5.5 percent. But it’s still too high, and we’re still working on it.”
Stegall finished with an optimistic statement looking forward.
“So what do we plan on doing? Staying the course. We’re not out of the woods yet, Darke County, but we’re getting close,” Stegall said. “We’re going to continue to march forward and continue to make this place better for everyone. I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Commissioner Mike Stegall, as well as commissioners Mike Rhoades and Diane Delaplane can be reached at (937) 547-737.