“We want to put a public park in where people could go rock climbing, biking, hiking and we can create a pollinator refuge,” explained Tiffany Harvey, executive director of the Friends of the Lower Muskingum River, a 501c3 nonprofit which works on environmental conservation in Washington County.,Commissioner Kevin Ritter explained both in a public statement published to his Facebook page and in a private interview Thursday that while he supports the idea FLMR has for the property, he takes issue with the approach and state funding structure.,“If we remove land from the inventory this way, we remove money from the tax base,” he explained Thursday, assuming that purchasing the property through the Clean Ohio Fund would remove the parcels from taxable real estate within the county.,Washington County Auditor Matthew Livengood said Friday that the current annual property tax on the property is $1,086, a rate which would stay in place if the nonprofit purchases the property regardless of what funds, public or private, are used.,Harvey said in response to Ritter’s Facebook statement Thursday that she doesn’t agree on all points, arguing that businesses invest in areas where there are higher property values, the property in question has been on the market for six years with no takers and disagreeing on the philosophy not to use conservation funds in place for the public.

During the Feb. 21 Washington County commissioners meeting, Harvey requested the commissioners give their approval for her organization’s project.,The fund would give up to 75 percent of the cost of the land and requires the Washington County commissioners and the Fairfield Township trustees to approve the project before FLMR could apply.,During the presentation, it was shown that in 2008, 62 percent of Washington County voters supported the start of the Clean Ohio Fund.,Harvey said she encouraged any resident of Washington County that is 18 or over to sign their petition on the Friends of Lower Muskingum River’s Facebook page to help convince the commissioners to change their minds about the project.,Harvey also said the latest the FLMR can apply for the Clean Ohio Fund is April 12 at 4 p.m.

“We would like to get the support of our commissioners ASAP, so we can get the process underway,” she said. read more

During the Feb. 21 Washington County commissioners meeting, Harvey requested the commissioners give their approval for her organization’s project.,The fund would give up to 75 percent of the cost of the land and requires the Washington County commissioners and the Fairfield Township trustees to approve the project before FLMR could apply.,During the presentation, it was shown that in 2008, 62 percent of Washington County voters supported the start of the Clean Ohio Fund.,Harvey said she encouraged any resident of Washington County that is 18 or over to sign their petition on the Friends of Lower Muskingum River’s Facebook page to help convince the commissioners to change their minds about the project.,Harvey also said the latest the FLMR can apply for the Clean Ohio Fund is April 12 at 4 p.m.

“We would like to get the support of our commissioners ASAP, so we can get the process underway,” she said. read more

It’s been 14 years since Ohio raised the rate of tax on motor fuel.,Hearings today, Wednesday and Thursday are before the House Finance Committee on the fiscal year 2020-2021 transportation budget, House Bill 62 and the proposal to raise Ohio’s motor fuel tax by 18 cents.,The last time the motor fuel tax was raised was in 2005, according to the Greater Ohio Policy Center, when the Ohio legislature increased the rate by 2 cents per gallon from 26 cents per gallon to the current 28 cents per gallon.,If Ohio legislators were to pass the increase in March, Pennsylvania would still keep the highest motor fuel tax rate of states bordering Ohio.,The Ohio Municipal League, County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the Ohio Township Association have all released positions in support of the tax increase in the last week.

MARIETTA — Washington County Commissioners denied a request from Friends of the Lower Muskingum River Thursday that would have allowed the organization to apply for a grant from the Clean Ohio Fund to purchase 223 acres of land.,“(The property) is in Washington County, into Morgan County up to McConnelsville,” said Tiffany Harvey, executive director for the nonprofit Friends of the Lower Muskingum River.,Harvey told the commissioners the money wouldn’t come from the residents of Washington County.,* Flite Freimann, director of Washington County Job and Family Services, presented the commissioners with an updated lease for the use of the 60 acres of land surrounding the County Home as low-income senior housing.,The lease was not signed at that time due to the commissioners’ concern over an incorrect amount of land needed that was stated in the original contract.

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP — During Thursday’s trustee meeting, Zoning Inspector Adam Booth said he is waiting for a response from a private consulting firm to 15 questions on the final revisions to the zoning code.,Trustee Barry Miner agreed, saying they were 25 years out from 1993 and pointed to issues with enforcement.,He advised trustees he wanted answers to the questions, submitted by the zoning commission’s text review meeting, held last month.,Also, in other business, Miner said there will be a meeting with Howells and Baird Engineers to set a bid date for the large-diameter culvert project that will address four priority culvert areas determined to be the worst.,During the December meeting, Miner said, “Spring is the optimum time, my concern is we’ve talked about this a long time and I don’t want to be sitting here if we have a failure.”

The board on Thursday hired Bryce Minor as deputy director to fill the vacancy created with the recent resignation of elections board Director Adam Booth, whose last day is Feb. 15.,Minor graduated summa cum laude in 2016 from Youngstown State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and while in college he served as an intern for U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta.,After that Minor helped run the Ohio House’s legislative page, intern and constituent service program until last month, when he took a job as legislative liaison for new state Auditor Keith Faber.,Under Ohio law, the elections board director and deputy director have to be from opposite political parties to serve as a checks-and-balance.,Minor, at 26, is only 18 months younger than when Booth was hired in 2009 as deputy director.

— “The biggest thing is to try and get in front of it,” said Fairfield Township Road Supervisor Mel Miller.,All four road crewmen, Miller, the longest tenured, John Rankin, a crewman since 1999, Shawn Butler, a five-year veteran, and Kevin Rice, the junior and newly hired member, were busy preparing for the winter blast that forecasts a 50 percent chance of over 10 inches of snowfall in the area, along with rain, ice and wind.,Miller said, “We’re fortunate we’re able to have four trucks out,” and immediately attributed that to township voters who support the road levies.,Miller, with the township since 1987, served as assistant road supervisor from the mid 1990’s through 2011.,Miller said that anytime there is a power outage or car off the road they clean up the area and “try to make it easier” for first responders, utility crews and tow trucks.

— “The biggest thing is to try and get in front of it,” said Fairfield Township Road Supervisor Mel Miller.,All four road crewmen, Miller, the longest tenured, John Rankin, a crewman since 1999, Shawn Butler, a five-year veteran, and Kevin Rice, the junior and newly hired member, were busy preparing for the winter blast that forecasters claim has a 70 percent chance of dumping over 10 inches of snowfall in the area, along with rain, ice and wind.,Miller said, “We’re fortunate we’re able to have four trucks out,” and immediately attributed that to township voters who support the road levies.,Miller, with the township since 1987, served as assistant road supervisor from the mid 1990s through 2011.,Miller said that anytime there is a power outage or car off the road they clean up the area and “try to make it easier” for first responders, utility crews and tow trucks.

— An officer responded to a two-vehicle crash on North Lincoln Avenue at East State Street at 1:51 p.m. Thursday in which a southbound vehicle struck the rear of another vehicle stopped at the traffic light.,— Police responded to a 2800 block East State Street business at 5:57 p.m. Thursday in reference to an irate customer and found a woman who admitted yelling at an employee regarding service to her mother.,— Officers responded to a 100 block North Ellsworth Avenue business at 6:04 p.m. Thursday in reference to a possible domestic dispute between a man and woman and found both individuals outside the business.,— Ruth A. Evans, 76, Salem, was cited for failure to control following a two-vehicle crash on South Broadway Avenue near East Wilson Street at 8:44 p.m. Thursday in which she was northbound and struck a legally parked vehicle.,— At approximately 8:22 a.m. Dec. 29, officers responded to the 200 block of Glenwood Avenue in East Palestine to assist the East Palestine Police Department with a domestic dispute complaint.