Another year is in the books and as fresh challenges are bound to be on the horizons, the Scioto County Commissioners took a few moments to reflect upon 2017.
The County finished the year with a surplus in the budget department, which was goal No. 1.
“As far as the good things that happened this past year, our No. 1 job as commissioners are to take care of the finances of the county,” Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners Bryan Davis said. “That general fund is our No. 1 priority, if you sum up that job description, that’s it. It all culminates into one thing and that’s to keep the county healthy physically. We’ve done that, we’ve accomplished our job for the year.”
Fellow Commissioner Mike Crabtree echoed Davis’ comments about finishing the year with a surplus. Although he is sometimes baffled by the decisions made by the state legislature, which affects the county budget, Crabtree is elated that the commissioners have once again balanced their budget.
As far as the “accomplishment” that meant the most — all three commissioners agreed — finishing the Doug Coleman Splash Park was at the top of the list.
“The completion of the Splash Park,” Scioto County Commissioner Cathy Coleman said. “That was Doug’s dream. He was a big part of that. It’s a great thing for our community. I’m very proud of that, that’s my fondest memory.”
Davis shared Coleman’s joy of having completing the Splash Pad.
“The dear to my heart thing, I’d have to share with Mike and Cathy is the Splash Pad, and what’s it’s brought to our community,” Davis said. “To hear the laughing of the children and hear them enjoying themselves, not just those from Scioto County but from those all over the state are coming. It’s really a joy to hear that and see that. What an edition to our park and our community. And we’re working on ways to expand it, we’re not done.”
However, being commissioner doesn’t just involve accomplishments, there are regrets. According to Davis, the job has the ability to weight heavily on a person — which include sleepless night — as every decision a commissioner makes tends to affect a lot of people.
“You try to turn it off when you walk away at the end of the day, but it just doesn’t happen that way,” Davis said.
One of the major regrets the commissioners share is in regards to the opioid epidemic.
“I think what saddens me the most is that we can’t do more about the opioid problem,” Coleman said. “We all see it. Every meeting we go to, the budget and opioid problem are always the same. You pick up the paper or you turn on the news, I was just listening and there were five murders in Huntington (West Virginia) this week and you know it’s all related to opioids. We need to find an answer.”
According to Davis, there have been approximately 30 deaths in Scioto County in 2017.
“Those are families. You say what you want to about the life and what happened, what led to those deaths, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are families involved, some cases there are children involved,” Davis said. “It’s an epidemic. The impact it’s having on families and not just the families involved, but the case workers and the people in our judiciary that are dealing with these situations and dealing with these families. It’s hard on them. It takes a human toll on many, many levels.
“We’ve got to pray for those people here at Christmas time, that they’ll feel loved and for those that are left behind to grieve, most of the time with a lot of questions — why? It’s hard.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1927, or on Twitter @crslone.