LEWISBURG — The Lewisburg Area Chamber of Commerce held its State of the Village meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The meeting featured updates from Mayor Marsha Jones, Tri-County North Superintendent Bill Derringer, and Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech.
Chamber of Commerce President Todd Appledorn opened the meeting by thanking all in attendance, all who contributed to the Golf Outing, and the speakers present.
Commissioner Creech spoke about the recent accomplishments in Preble County and what he considers to be “highlights.”
“We’re at the best position we’ve ever been in the county, but we also have to be conservative and spend those dollars wisely. If you look at where we were, versus where we are now — we were at cut, cut, cut, save, save, save — we’ve done that and now we’re slowly getting back to building back,” he said.
Some examples Creech shared included: the 9-1-1 dispatch merger between Preble County and the City of Eaton, recent staffing additions for the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, and capital improvements.
“If you talk to any community around the United States or the State of Ohio, to get a city and a county to work together is nearly impossible. You have egos, money, politics — you have all that ‘fun’ stuff. We pretty much went through unscathed. We hit the ground running, never looked back, and we made it past,” he said.
“Now we’re operating one fully staffed PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point). The city did pay up front three quarters of a million dollars to help us get it up and running. We went from seven to 11 staffed there. Now, when you call 9-1-1 you shouldn’t have to be on hold or wait very long. That’s huge.”
He also mentioned the addition of a sheriff’s deputy and corrections officer at the Preble County Jail and discussed the three quarters of a million to a million dollars spent per year by Preble County on capital improvements.
“I’m very proud of the conservative leadership. I’ve only been in five years — this started way before me. I’m kind of getting to enjoy the fun, if you will, of previous decisions, but I’m also getting to join in,” he said. “We’ve been able to do a lot of good things. I say all that, and we’re still able to grow our general fund balance.
“If things continue in the county we’re going to be able to do some great things.”
Mayor Jones thanked various organizations for partnering with the village, thanked village council for their efforts, shared information on various meetings and boards, discussed the village’s strategic plan, and updated those present on recent accomplishments of the village.
“As we closed Lewisburg’s memorable bicentennial year, our focus shifted to carrying out our mission statement and strategic plan to improve the quality of life in our community. Safety was identified as a number one priority for Lewisburg. Proper staffing, equipment, and training for our safety department is critical,” she said.
Jones added, the safety committee has been meeting to develop plans to continue and improve safety and emergency services in the village. She also thanked those departments for their work in the village.
As for recent accomplishments and events, Jones reported on the community garden, the proposed recreation and arts facility, First Friday Block Parties, the Brown Memorial Library, property maintenance, and street paving.
Superintendent Derringer spoke about recent safety improvements at Tri-County North. He started by talking about the collaboration with Lewisburg Police Department, who had Chief Rick McGee in the schools for years as a part-time School Resource Officer and now has a full-time School Resource Officer in the district.
He then moved on to speak about a $40,000 safety grant through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation the school received. That grant has been used to install a bullet resistant film over all of the lower level windows in the school building. The grant has also been used to switch all doors in the district to key card access and ensure doors are locked at all times.
Derringer also reported on general updates to the district, including new playground equipment and updates to the lecture room. To finish, Derringer talked about the start of the school year and School Report Cards, which were released on Thursday, Sept. 12.
“Things are going well. We got off to a really good start with the beginning of the school year. State Report Cards come out Thursday, so we are anxiously awaiting that. We get preliminary results, so we all know in the county what they look like. Once it gets released to the media, it always explodes,” he said.
“Good or bad, there are things we’re doing really well. There are areas we need to refine and work on. I do want to remind all of you, that is a snapshot. A lot of the results you’re going to see from how students do with testing, it is no different for Tri-County North than it is across the state. It is one test, they take the test, it is one snapshot. I can’t talk enough positives about the kind of kids we are turning from the high school. That is what I like to focus on.”
In closing, Appledorn thanked all in attendance for their time and noted, he believes people are noticing Lewisburg for all its recent events and accomplishments.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH