POMEROY — Local governments unite (#localgovernmentsunite) was the message of a meeting on Monday evening which brought together representatives from several levels of government to discuss the proposed state budget and what changes may be coming before its ultimate approval.
Hosted by the Meigs County Commissioners, the meeting brought together State Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville), as well as representatives from Gov. John Kasich’s office, U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s office and U.S. Representative Bill Johnson’s office, as well as local residents, township officials, village officials and county officials.
Opening the meeting, President of the Meigs County Board of Commissioners Mike Bartrum said that the goal of the meeting was to have a positive vision to move forward. He reminded the nearly 100 people in attendance that there were no “stupid questions.”
Topics of discussion centered around the impact of the sales tax loss from the managed care tax, both on the counties and the local villages and townships; the local government fund; opioid epidemic and funding; and grant funding.
Rep. Ryan Smith explained the process by which the state budget is approved, beginning with the recommendation from the governor through the final approval of a balanced budget on June 30. Currently, hearings are taking place with the house finance committee, for which Smith serves as chairman, followed by sub-committee hearings before the house of representatives approves a budget to be sent to the senate for the same process to take place.
During the process, parts of the budget may remain as presented, while others may change completely. Smith said that typical topics of concern by many with regard to the budget are safe communities to live in, good schools and good roads to drive on. Those are just some of the areas of the 3,600-page budget which will be considered between now and the end of June.
Commissioner Randy Smith explained that solving problems and working together was nothing new for those in the region and that this meeting was another way to do that.
Smith asked that as those in attendance share ideas or photos from the meeting on social media or correspond with officials by using the hashtag #localgovernmentsunite as a way to show the amount of people working together.
More information on Monday’s meeting, including specific details of the topics discussed, will appear in the Wednesday edition of The Daily Sentinel and Gallipolis Daily Tribune.