Clark County to set priorities for future projects

Clark County Commissioner Richard Lohnes talks about the new contract the county has with the Clark County Humane Society on Feb. 15. Bill Lackey/Staff

Combined ShapeCaption
Clark County Commissioner Richard Lohnes talks about the new contract the county has with the Clark County Humane Society on Feb. 15. Bill Lackey/Staff

Clark County commissioners will begin a strategic planing process this year, which could include discussing several major projects such as the combined 9-1-1 dispatch center and moving more services to the Springview Government Center.

The county spent $3,000 to hire Columbus-based consultant Murphy Epson to facilitate the plan later this month, Clark County Administrator Jenny Hutchinson said.

“We hope to have it completed by summer,” she said. “Everything is on the table. It’s going to be what we envision for the county over the next few years.”

It will likely be the first time the county has performed a strategic plan, Hutchinson said. It will likely include plans for a combined 9-1-1 dispatch center, which she called a huge priority.

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“Anything is possible,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes has discussed completing a strategic plan in the past, but staff decided it wasn’t the right time to move forward given the political make-up of the commission, he said.

Other very specific strategic policies have been implemented since that time, including a budget analysis policy and a debt management plan. The broad plan should last throughout the next four years with an annual review, he said.

“We need it. It’ll be good,” Lohnes said. “It can’t hurt.”

Other ideas to review include moving the title office, the Clark County Veterans Office and moving the public defenders office away from the city and county prosecutors offices, Lohnes said.

“Nothing is off the table,” he said.

Once the strategic plan is completed, the county will have finite plans on where certain departments may relocate, Lohnes said.

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“(Relocating offices) kind of happened as needs popped up, instead of strategically,” Lohnes said.

Clark County Commissioner Lowell McGlothin wants to see more workforce training at a younger age and more jobs to keep them in the county.

“The (Springfield-Clark Career Technical Center) is such a hidden gem for kids to go who really have no direction at that point,” McGlothin said. “It would be great to see more kids go to CTC and find something they want to do with their life.”

Commissioner Melanie Flax-Wilt campaigned on completing a strategic plan last year, she said. Jobs, recruitment and workforce development are critical moving forward, she said. The drug epidemic in Clark County will also be discussed, Wilt-Flax said, as well as operational efficiency.

The beauty of the process is that it will allow commissioners to flesh out different ideas and set priorities together, Flax-Wilt said. The plan will provide a long-term vision with clear priorities that will allow commissioners to gather data and make decisions, she said.

“That’s the key to being able to know with certainty every day we come in here what our main priorities are and how we’re going to develop programs, fund programs and challenge our county employees to help meet those goals,” she said.

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