Wayne Allen and Frank Lewis
PDT Staff Writers
Scioto County Commissioner Tom Reiser took part in his last official commissioners meeting Thursday. The longtime commissioner said he will miss the people the most.
At the end of the meeting Commissioner Chairman Skip Riffe thanked Reiser for his many years of service.
“I want to publicly thank Tom Reiser for his 12 years of serving on this board. I think Tom has had a major impact. When it comes to our financial situation, I feel as if Tom had guided us in the right direction on that issue. He served two years on the (Scioto County Financial Planning and Supervision) commission. I served on it this year and I think my job was to hold steady and not screw it up,” Riffe said. “I think Tom did a lot to get us in the right direction and I appreciate that. I have appreciated the last 12 years Tom has served as commissioner.”
Riffe said Reiser is currently involved in what the future of economic development is going to be for the county.
“It’s been a good 12 years. I think you guys have been around long enough to know we’ve all worked together well over this period and have accomplished quite a few things,” Reiser said. “We have suffered through some of the toughest economic times that most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. I think the county is now in the best financial situation we’ve been in during the last 12 years.”
Reiser said he appreciated the corporation he has received from the other commissioners Riffe and Mike Crabtree.
“It’s been a great group of people to work with and I will miss the people but, I am looking forward to some time off. I have not decided yet if I’m really going to be retired. This will be the second time I’ve tried it and it did not work well the first time,” Reiser said. “I’m leaving with no regrets and am proud of what we’ve done.”
Earlier Thursday, Reiser reflected on the accomplishments of the last several years.
He said he can’t begin to name all of the things that have happened in the county, but said the highlights include the investment of $750 million by Sun Coke, which resulted in more than 200 full-time employees and contractors; the investment of $13 million to build the new Scioto County Jail, which produces more than $800,000 a year in revenue for the county; the cleaning up and development of the former steel mill property, which is currently occupied by three manufacturing facilities, including the recent addition of Infra-Metals and the addition of the Walmart shopping complex and three restaurants.
Reiser said those projects are comprised of in excess of 800 jobs.
Reiser said the Norfolk Southern Railroad car shop and the Portsmouth yards employ more than 200 people, and if New Steel International is able to complete all the work for the locating of a steel fabricating facility at Franklin Furnace, it will mean more than 1,500 full time industrial jobs, as well as millions of hours of construction work.
“These projects have all involved the Commissioners and the Southern Ohio Port Authority,” Reiser said. “The village of New Boston has also been a major partner in the clean up and development of the former steel mill property”
Reiser said the Commissioners have also used various grant monies to assist in the funding of numerous senior center facilities throughout the County and has provided $480,000 over the past 12 years to fund the senior holistic health program (Golden Bears) which serves hundreds of senior citizens each year.
“The commissioners have also used grant funding to support demolition of condemned properties and assist Habitat for Humanity to construct new affordable homes for many deserving families,” Reiser said. “Grant funding has also been made available for rural waterline extensions, community parks, fire plugs and fire and safety equipment.”
Reiser said the county has upgraded sewer systems, added sewer service to the Highland Bend Community (eliminating their annual mosquito invasion) and are in the process of extending sewer service to Eden Park, Minford, Clarktown and Rubyville which he said will greatly reduce pollution and increase the value of homes and businesses in those areas. He said the investment is more than $30 million and is provided by grants and loans from USDA provided by the U.S. stimulus fund.
“The Commissioners have also teamed with the Lawrence County Commissioners to form and operate the Lawrence/Scioto County Solid Waste District which operates the recycling program and works in conjunction with townships to clean up illegal dumps and litter,” Reiser said. “Grand funding has been utilized to help a number of small business ventures and to assist in providing additional equipment or facilities for existing business.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com