Fulton County underwent a major upgrade in 2017, and plans continued improvements through this year.
A joint effort with the Ohio Department of Transportation has culminated in a new complex on State Route 108 that will house county offices, the Fulton County Museum, and a visitors bureau. County Administrator Vond Hall considers it the county’s most satisfying accomplishment, citing the teamwork that brought it together and the cost effectiveness of sharing the facilities.
He said county residents may not realize the time and complications that can accompany such a project.
“Pick any major event, trip or undertaking in your life, and think about the time, energy, and work put into making sure everything went off without a hitch. Then think about the stress and aggravation you experienced those times when things didn’t go as planned. County projects are no different,” Hall said.
County administrators consistently take on “Plan B” because the original plan might not work, he said. Reasons for failure can include external vendors and internal and intra-departmental members, their input, and their schedules. Other factors may be quality, cost, timing, and the law.
Projects this year could include major renovations at the county courthouse and replacing HVAC units in some county buildings in step with ongoing maintenance. Those initiatives would be financed through the county’s Capital Improvements fund.
Hall regards Fulton County as consistent rather than progressive. “We continue to work on issues that address public need,” he said. “With limited resources, the elected officials work with commissioners to prioritize items, from court needs to criminal justice, public safety, and social services.”
Commissioner Bill Rufenacht also lauded the new county complex. “Working with ODOT was absolutely tremendous,” he said. “It will be tremendous for the future of Fulton County.”
He said things to watch for in 2018 include continued discussion of a proposed Toledo Area Water Authority that would include a partnership between Toledo and eight of its water customers including Fulton County. “We haven’t drawn the conclusion one way or the other whether it will help out the county. A lot of the investigative work is still out there,” Rufenacht said.
He also noted challenges regarding the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in Stryker. The City of Toledo has threatened to end its partnership with the facility which could affect Fulton County’s involvement.
“A lot of challenges will continue (this year),” Rufenacht said.
But he’s excited about the proposed renovations to the county courthouse, and praised Hall and past county commissioners for their foresight in preparing for the cost.
“I think they did a good job in thinking ahead,” he said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.