Thomas Anderson and Michael Bartrum took office this week after being elected in November. They attended a brief meeting Thursday. Commissioners will organize for the year on Monday. Anderson and Bartrum join Mick Davenport as members of the board of commissioners.
Both Anderson and Bartrum said additional health care services — particularly a 24-hour emergency room — are at the top of their priority list as they enter their first year in office. Past commissioners have worked with Commissioner Mick Davenport to formulate a plan for a new emergency room that would operate as part of the Fairly-Qualified Health Care clinic now in its second year of operation.
The county’s Community Improvement Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to economic development, owns land near Meigs High School the commissioners had hoped could be developed as a medical campus to include the new FQHC practice, an emergency room and, possibly, some type of hospital facility.
Anderson and Davenport said last week they both think the prospect of a full-service inpatient hospital may be a far reach for the immediate future; however, the Institute for Local Government and Regional Development at Ohio University has completed a study of combined FQHC health centers and emergency rooms, which they hope will offer guidance in expanding services.
Both Anderson and Bartrum said implementing the county’s new E-911 service should also be an early-year priority for the board. The system has been financed, and renovations have been completed at the EMS building where the service will operate. However, it is not expected to be operational until February.
Anderson said he hopes the board will address the county’s delinquent land taxes, and make efforts to collect them. He said he hopes commissioners can join the county’s new Treasurer, Peggy Yost, and Prosecuting Attorney Colleen Williams in developing a plan for collecting those taxes for the county general fund and other local governments which receive real estate tax millage.
Bartrum said he plans to work more closely with Economic Development Director Perry Varnadoe in coming months, taking advantage of Varnadoe’s expertise in seeking grant funds for projects, and his many contacts in the business community