Fulton County Economic Future Looks Bright

While rising jobless numbers have some on the Board of Fulton County Commissioners concerned, the county’s economic development director is unfazed.

The commissioners reviewed the state unemployment report showed Fulton County at 6.2 percent unemployment. Both Bill Rufenacht and Jon Rupp expressed concerns about the high rate.

The numbers appear high now, but as the spring season arrives, those totals should go down, Matt Gilroy, director of Fulton County Economic Development, said. The answer for a higher unemployment rate could be more people entering the workforce again seeking work, but most likely is the number of seasonal laborers still out of work, he said.

“The unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted, at least not locally,” Gilroy said. “A lot of times we will see it spike in January and February and then start a downward trend March-April. I expect to see that happen again.”

Gilroy expects a return to the 4.0 to 4.5 percent unemployment range by June or July. The higher rate is due to the construction industry and seasonal work, he said.

“We have some manufacturers that manufacture items for the construction industry,” Gilroy said. “They are kind of on a low employment scale right now. I expect give it a couple of months and we’ll be right back where were.”

In other news:
Four companies who are enjoying tax abatements will continue with the benefits.

Commissioners approved the recommendation of the Tax Incentive Review Council for continuances of abatements and an enterprise zone.
There are three companies with a total of four tax abatements. Fulton County Processing has two, with Worthington Steel and Quiring Real Estate accounting for the other two.

Aero Beech Ltd has the enterprise zone in Dover Township.
County Auditor Brett Kolb stated in a letter the companies have met all job, investment and donation requirements.

In addition to those companies and TIRC, the CIC has helped others to expand, Gilroy said.

ConAgra in Archbold is adding a new line and will likely bring on more than 100 new people over the next couple of years, Gilroy said.

Worthington Industries of Delta, who received a Jobs Ohio grant for state income taxes, will add 26 new jobs.

Gerald Grain Center, next to Worthington, is erecting a new grain elevator.

“A really nice project with a loop track right off the Norfolk Southern (line),” Gilroy said. The CIC provided a small grant to achieve a larger grant.

The board approved the recommendation of the county engineer to award the bid to replace Bridge 25D.2 to Miller Brothers Construction Inc. for $305,225.50.

The board approved a lawn mowing contract for $705 per mowing occurrence with Lawns N More. The contract will be effective from April 15 through Oct. 15, 2019. The contract covers 21 lots across the county.
Four companies submitted bids, but only Lawns N More and Bettinger Brothers Landscaping attended a mandatory meeting. The other two, including one for only $604 per mowing occurrence, were automatically rejected.

The board approved a contract with Blausey Truck Service and Excavating to perform drainage improvements on Ditch 2127 Branch 3e and Branch 3e3, Dry Creek. The cost is $40,570.20.

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