PAULDING — Paulding County commissioners were updated on economic development issues and were asked to increase the agency’s budget during a recent meeting.

The commissioners met with the economic development committee including executive director Jerry Zielke, Larry Manz and Tim Copsey.

Manz said the group wanted to talk about the last five years and the next.

“That includes a transition period for us,” he said. “We want you to see that we have a plan.”

In the last five years, Zielke said Paulding County has seen a large number of manufacturing business expansions and capital investment over the last five years, including installation of new equipment and additional buildings. The major companies making these major investments include, Insource Technologies, Inc., Haviland Plastics & Drainage, Paragon Tempered Glass, LaFarge Holcim, Logisticize LLC, Kauser Trucking Service & Excavating, Precision Mechanical Insulators, Baker-Shindler Company, Baughman Tile Company, North American Stamping Group, Kirk Stoller Enterprises, Spartech, Taylor Made Glass and Cooper Farms.

The county has continued to see growth in the renewable energy sector, both in wind and solar. The economic development office has assisted most of these projects in a number of ways.

Over the last five years, Paulding County has seen well over $1 billion of capital investments within the county, Zielke said. He added that jobs in manufacturing and agri-business have increased on the average of 200 new employees per year. “We currently have over $250 million of projects in the county in the pipeline for 2019, that we have been assisting and tracking,” Zielke said. “Our organizations continue our mission to assist in the retention and creation of jobs, improve local services, broaden the tax base and encourage capital investment by working with local public and private leaders, the state and enlisting input and aid from the entire community. We continue to strive to create a positive business climate in Paulding County and improve the economic well-being and quality of life of our citizens.”

Copsey reported that currently the largest open projects Zielke is involved with are developing downtown Paulding and annexing the land near Schweller Electric. Zielke also recently was the leader in finalizing the windmill project at Lafarge, adding an additional $27,000 in tax revenue for the county and adding $15,000 in local scholarships.

He also pointed out that Zielke was critical in helping the solar panel installation at the Antwerp school. Antwerp Local Schools is estimating an annual savings of $60,000, which is already being applied into an additional $950,000 investment in sport facility infrastructure, possible attracting more families and students into the county.

Copsey said Zielke continues to be involved with the new and future windmill farm projects and legislation; the infrastructure development at the U.S. 24/Ohio 49 interchange, and many smaller projects around the county.

Copsey pointed out the board is redeveloping the report the director provides to both itself and the commissioners.

“We just want an update on the latest and largest topics at hand that will eventually affect the future county budget bottom line the most,” Copsey said. “We want the report to show how we are setting and achieving goals for the growth in the county. Our hope is that these reports match or exceed the commissioners’ annual goal for tax base growth.”

It also was noted that Paulding County Economic Development (PCED) is making additions and upgrades to its website.

Paulding County Career Day also was discussed.

“We feel this has the potential to be our boards largest return on investment into the future of our county,” Copsey said. “The PCED office developed this event to double the size of 2017. This year, 16 area businesses and 13 local colleges displayed to nearly 300 county students from all three county schools. Through this event, PCED is punctuating the fact that ... we can show there are lifelong job opportunities in Paulding County.”

Manz then pointed out that the world is different than the world when most public officials grew up.

“There is a greater need for high speed internet in the county,” he said. “ We need to think about additional staffing to write more grants. We are working on these things, even if we don’t receive additional funding. That is the economic engine to drive economic development. Each dollar that is spent should grow more dollars. If you increase your $60,000 to $90,000 (budgeted a year), we estimate that we can grow the revenue by 750,000 more dollars.”

Zielke encouraged the commissioners and the public to go to Visit Paulding County Ohio on Facebook. He indicated that PCED is working on major events going on in the county and they will continue to add to the list.

Also at the meeting, commissioners:

• asked Engineer Travis McGarvey about Flat Rock Creek and the cost effectiveness of the project. McGarvey noted that basically the benefit gained isn’t enough to cover the cost. That channel is not big enough to handle the water, no matter if there are log jams or not. He continued that in removing the log jams, the channel is not sufficient and the water goes into the floodplain. The cost to remove the jams would outweigh any benefit received.

• heard from emergency management agency director Ed Bohn. Bohn noted that the National Weather Service indicated that the recent storms were a microburst and that during the event the development of a potential tornado could occur, calling it a “gustnado.” A gustnado is a short-lived, shallow surface-based vortex which forms within the downburst emanating from a thunderstorm. The village of Paulding is calling regarding a declaration on the issue.

• appointed Kyle Mawer to the Tri-County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board.

• transferred $200,000 from the Medicaid local sales tax transition fund to general fund.

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