Sharing wealth, responsibility
As a former county commissioner, I keep tuned in to what is happening around the county as well as the region.
The latest news which caught my interest is the tax bill being proposed by state Reps. Hottinger and Landis of Newark and Dover, respectively. I agree with their concerns as well as those concerns of Rep. Barborak of Lisbon and those of Trustee Zehentbauer of Hanover Township.
The bill proposed by Hottinger and Landis would distribute taxes imposed on the oil and gas industry back to those eastern Ohio counties which are generating the most from the shale boom.
The money generated would be used for the repair of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure impacted and damaged by the oil and gas industry (shale boom).
Now, if in fact these dollars were to become a reality I would strongly suggest that the funds be controlled by a board – not the county commissioners – consisting of no less than four township trustees, two village mayors, one city mayor and the county engineer. The fiscal agent could be the county treasurer.
The meetings could be held quarterly, unless an emergency arose, and not one dime would be spent without a majority vote by said board. All meetings would be announced to the public.
The money received would go to an interest bearing account with any interest gained returned to the fund, with no administration fees or compensation to the board.
The board as suggested would provide an excellent cross section of representation of all political subdivisions of the county and would provide any elected official with concerns in their respective area to meet with a body of their peers.
If you recall, when the casino money started rolling in, officials from various political subdivisions asked the commissioners for consideration of distributing some of the funds throughout the county to assist those subdivisions with their financial hardships, with the most obstinate response from Commissioner Halleck … “Don’t hold your breath” …
The shale boom was brought about by the oil and gas companies wanting to drill for the product and the property owners willing to lease their land for that purpose. The property owners created the shale boom and the financial results, not some politician.