Scioto County Commissioners met with 18 federal agencies in the Nation’s capital early this week. Commissioner Bryan Davis explained that he was excited to take part in the visit, which allowed local leaders to connect with federal officials in an effort to address problems effecting communities all over Ohio.
“I’m still stunned by the level of access,” Davis stated as he explained that the federal officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, were eager to hear about local problems and were quickly working to address the issues as well.
Davis and Commissioner Cathy Coleman agreed that one of the overarching themes of the day was the opiate epidemic and how the crisis is impacting local government resources and budgets.
“It is killing us, not just physically but financially,” Davis commented
Ohio was one of several states recently invited to visit with officials in Washington, D.C.
“I thought it was exciting that Ohio was the fourth state to be welcomed in,” said Davis.
Some other important conversations of the visit include a meeting with the Department of Energy (DOE), at which time commissioners were able to address concerns regarding the continued funding of cleanup at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. There was also discussion regarding the Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) sales tax elimination.
After the budget line item was signed by Governor John Kasich, State representatives worked to replace the tax loss through a budget amendment.
The budget amendment sought to require the state to seek federal approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reset the franchise fee on health insuring corporations (HICs) to raise up to an additional $207 million per year, a portion of which may be used to help address Medicaid MCO reimbursement.
However, after Monday’s trip, Davis stated that the option may be faulty. He added that he is urging other communities to start exploring other approaches.
Davis also explained that he has a new understanding of “intergovernmental affairs,” which on Monday meant counties and cities working with federal agencies. “I’m still stunned by the level of access.
Scioto County Commissioners agreed that they were impressed by the way in which national leaders were willing to not only hear and address problems but also to give out their personal contact information with the pledge to continue to work side-by-side with smaller government entities.
“We definitely hit the ground running Monday,” Davis said. “All in all, I think it was a very good day.”
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.