The Press Newspaper
Wood County commissioners describe their spending last year of public revenues as reflecting “a cautious, yet optimistic outlook” that maintained services, allowed for modest equipment purchases and capital improvements, and protected the county’s bond rating.
The commissioners released their 2009 annual report last week.
They began the year with a $14.7 million carry-over in the general fund which realized an additional $34 million in revenues. Total fund expenditures reached $37.1 million, leaving a carry-over to 2010 of $11.5 million.
Mirroring wide-spread trends, sales tax revenue in the county dropped from $16.1 million in 2008 to $15 million. Investment income also dropped to $2.75 million – a 30 percent decrease from 2008. Still, 2009 revenues were slightly higher than they were in 2007.
Despite the economic downturn, the county reaped two major development projects – each exceeding $100 million.
Construction on the CSX Intermodal Hub in Henry Township began in August and is expected to generate more than 200 jobs when operating, said Tom Blaha, executive director of the county’s economic development commission.
At the northern end of the county, an expansion at First Solar Inc., a manufacturer of photovoltaic cells in Perrysburg Township, increased total employment at the facility to almost 900.
“The 2009 marketing plan adopted by the commission’s executive committee included goals of positioning Wood County as a global leader in alternative energy and logistics/transportation,” said Blaha.
The sluggish economy was felt at the building and inspection department where the number of building permits dropped to 3,402 – 832 fewer than in 2008. As a result of the drop in permits and fees from inspections, the department was reorganized to cut costs and reduce full-time staff.
The civil division of the sheriff’s department also felt the impact of the economy as it conducted 343 property foreclosure sales. Proceeds from the sale reached $2.2 million.
The county is continuing a project at the landfill to collect methane gas and convert it to electrical power. In May, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded the county a $750,000 grant to help fund the project. When operating, the methane system will be operated by AMP-Ohio.
The annual report is available on-line at the county Web site. To request a printed copy contact the commissioners.