NAPOLEON — Henry County commissioners approved a regional transportation plan during their Tuesday meeting not, perhaps, with the reach they seek, at least for now.
Commissioners passed a resolution approving the plan presented by Kim Lammers of the Defiance-based Maumee Valley Planning Organization (MVPO). She has been hired with a state grant to coordinate a transportation plan among four area counties (Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams).
The plan has been reviewed and approved by a committee composed of representatives from various public and nonprofit organizations and other agencies throughout the above four counties, according to MVPO.
Lammers told Defiance County commissioners last week that if the four counties approve the plan it will be presented to the Ohio Department of Transportation for approval.
She has been presenting the plan to all four counties’ commissioners, and acknowledged some reluctance of some to participate. However, she noted that the plan’s implementation is a long-term goal.
“When I first came on it sounded like we were at the point of regionalization about maybe a year or two ago, and it kind of dissolved with some people feeling uneasy at the table,” said Lammers. “... It’s a multi-year program process; I don’t think it will happen right away. ... I’m trying to pivot and come up with new solutions so that we can still continue to increase transportation “
Commissioner Bob Hastedt expressed some frustration with the other counties, saying “it kind of baffles me that these other counties all want it, and we have it ... and I don’t understand what’s holding things up.”
Commissioner Glenn Miller speculated that perhaps other counties “want to be in charge.”
The effort to provide more regional services is led by the Napoleon-based Henry County Transportation Network, which has a presence in local counties already.
But another local transportation provider, K & P Medical — based in Defiance — has expressed concern in the past that this represents competition from the government.
In other business Tuesday, commissioners:
• held a work session to review and discuss certain expenses in the 2021 county budget.
• met in executive session to discuss compensation of personnel, but took no action.