Darke County Commissioner Mike Stegall...
Response: Owning up
to a wrong or two
By Mike Stegall
Mr. Robinson, sorry it has taken me a while to respond to you, but we
have had a lot of stuff going on in the commissioner’s office the last
week or so, and I am just now catching up with you.
In response to your and Bob Rhoades question on the MARCS system, yes
we did discuss it. The main problem with the system at this time is
conversion costs to the taxpayer. The MARCS system is a very good
system but it is incredibly expensive to operate and to maintain. I
discussed this issue with our EMA director, and talked to Brandon
Redmond about it a little bit. Both agree it has it’s good points, but
it also has it’s faults. I was told that Sheriff Simpson in Preble
county has had troubles with their system.
One aspect of the MARCS system that I do not like is it would cost us
$20 per month per radio to use the system. Mercer County uses a
“Hybrid” system combining the 2 systems of VHF and MARCS. The reason is
because of cost. Their first responders are sent out with the MARCS
sytem, but once they are on scene, they switch to VHF because of cost.
I was also informed that the radios themselves are between $2500 and
$3500 dollars apiece! Ouch!!
As for the Casino Money, we will have to wait and see what our
proportion will be. The last projections I have seen are for 2012
Casino revenue for Darke County was $264,265.00. If VLT’s are permitted
(VIDEO LOTTERY TERMINALS), the revenue decreases to $192,914.00. In
2013 $400,370.00 and with the VLT’s $292,270.00. Keep in mind these are
best case scenarios for the Casinos. If they do not draw the
attendance, get finished on time, are built to the size they are
supposed to be, etc., this will all change. Exciting isn’t it!? If
everything is wine and roses, we will still be short of what is needed.
As the other 2 casinos go online of course, the revenue, should
increase. Projections are just that, a projection, if everything goes
right. We all like to project for the best, but we must prepare in case
things aren’t as rosy as predicted.
Once again, the conveyance fee issue has come up. I know, you do not
like any taxes. I don’t either. It is my job to spend the county’s
money and the people’s as wisely as possible. As I have stated before,
after hearing all the arguments against it (and still hearing them!)
they are all the same argument: NO NEW TAXES! I GET IT!!
However, my decision was based on the good it would do, not a political
decision. ( I don’t do those!) After talking to the people against it
(you included) it was obvious to me that this was going to be a
political football, because even those against it wanted us to continue
with more Economic Development. Fine, this gives us one more tool to
use. If you are dead set against the fee, or tax, or whatever you wish
to call it, then don’t despair when we lose jobs to people who have
more to offer than us.
I agree, we shouldn’t have to do some of these things to attract
business. Unfortunately, this is how the game is played now. We don’t
make the rules, we just have to play by them. Politics are what has
gotten us into this mess in this country, and I promised to make wise
decisions that I can defend honorably to our constituents. They alone
will determine if I made the right choice. NO NEW TAXES is a great
political catch-phrase. Man, anybody can get elected with that! I
prefer to make correct decisions, not ones that are going to get me
re-elected. If anyone has any questions on how your money is being used
by the Economic Development efforts in this County, either just look
around at how far we have come, or, Call the E.D. office, Marc will be
glad to explain it to you.
I also was surprised to hear you say that with a political campaign
coming up, why bring this up now? Why not? We are trying to give the
people as much time as possible to digest this situation. When would
have been a better time? When is it a good time to discuss tax
increases with the public? We decided why try to hide it till later and
let the rumor mill get a whiff of it and have them saying in a month or
two that we wanted more money for a new jet for the County! (Bob, you
know how things get blown out of proportion.)
Oh, and by the way, go take a jail tour, and then tell me what you
think. I’ll let you tell the readers about it.
As for not telling the whole story, well, I don’t know what all will be
asked, but I gave as much as I thought was needed. I am glad you asked
the questions, that is what this is for. You ask, and I will try to
answer as honestly as I can. There Bob, I owned up to a wrong, now we
are even (for now!!) Keep in touch my friend, and keep asking
questions, it is the one thing you are almost good at!! ( gotcha again!
Sorry, couldn’t let it go!)