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Booth, Schiling look back on first 100 days

Jamie Booth

It’s been around 100 days since the Washington County Board of Commissioners added two new members and things are off to a good start.

“I can sum it up in one word,” said Commission President Kevin Ritter with a laugh. “Bromance.”

Commissioners Jamie Booth and Charlie Schilling replaced David White and Ron Feathers in January after being voted in during November’s general election.

Ritter said he was surprised at how quickly they have identified and understood each other’s strengths.

“I think we work together very effectively as a team,” he said.

Booth said in areas where one commissioner may be a little bit short, the others pick it up.

“We don’t always agree, but we hammer things out and it’s a conversation,” he said. “It’s a fact finding conversation and it does help us, I think, make good decisions for the county, especially monetarily.”

Schilling said the first 100 days flew by, but time goes faster when you enjoy what you’re doing and enjoy the people you are working with.

High points so far

¯ “I think attacking the Devola sewer project head on,” Booth said. “It hasn’t been an afterthought, going after funding to help all customers, including Devola, was not only the right thing to do, but it was our duty to do, and we’re continuing to do so.”

¯ “I think the high point was (funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers),” Schilling said. “We just received our first million dollars … a million dollars to go toward that project.”

¯ “I think the high point for me is these two guys coming in fresh. They have no expectations,” Ritter explained.

“They had no preconceived notions at all about the office and that’s terrific. It’s reenergized me. Even just in two years in office, you get a little bit jaded.”

¯ Schilling said a high point was also working with other elected county officials.

“I think when it comes down to them answering questions for me, or me answering questions for them, we’re always right on top of it,” he remarked.

¯ Booth said hiring the new county home director, Deanna Green, is a high point.

“She brings a new set of eyes to the county home and a vision of revitalizing the farm and such. That’s going to be a focal point,” he added.

¯ Ritter said building up the Southeast Ohio Building Department was also positive.

“In week one, we brought in a new director, or we began to interview for a new director, and all the feedback we’ve gotten on the person we hired is that he’s doing a great job,” he said. “People are very happy with the building department, so that’s been a highlight as well.”

¯ An issue that Booth campaigned on is broadband, and customers are starting to get service from the Southeast Ohio Broadband Cooperative.

“It’s been an almost seamless and problem-free deployment, which is great,” he said. “The news I heard (Wednesday night) was that there are people that are putting poles up in their yards or on their properties at no charge to hit five, six, seven more houses. It has been truly people helping people.”

¯ A task was set before the new building official, Rick Dostal, to look at all the county properties and report back on their conditions. This hasn’t been done in recent memory.

“You can imagine the reports we got back were across the board,” Ritter said. “Some of those properties are in great shape, some of them need work. So, I think there’s some work moving forward that we need to do on some of those properties.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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