It has been a while since I last wrote a report. I am remiss in not writing sooner, so will try to catch up a bit with this one and the next one to follow soon. As some of you have noticed, we have installed LED lights inside the Rose Free Library building, as well as the outside yard lights at the library, town barn and salt barn. We believe these will reduce the cost of lighting substantially and be paid for by savings in just a couple of years. If this goes well, we may install more LEDs in our other buildings.
The Catchpole Road Water Project has received all the needed approvals and meetings with contractors were held to get the work started. We have broken ground to get foundational material in place as well as some of the below ground disposal systems installed. Soon after that is done, the actual construction of the treatment plant will begin. This will take quite a few weeks to complete as there is a lot of equipment and electrical controls, etc. to put in place. However, the main point is that we are finally at the construction phase, so there is hope of completion this year. Finally!
On the Solar Project, we have been dealing with some behind the scenes permitting and financing activities have been going on, and we are now looking at getting some timber logged out of the way so that the specific land for the solar array can be cleared and made ready for the installation. This takes a little while, but is underway. I expect the solar array to be completed and energized in the late spring or early summer. We are anxious to get this done so we can take advantage of the abundant sunshine of the season.
At the county level, there was one thing that I especially wanted to call to people’s attention. After the 2016 year financial books were closed, we found two important results that I think is important for our county taxpayers to know. First, the Mental Health Department finished the year in the black. That is, although budgeted to suffer a financial loss last year, it actually ended the year with a small surplus. As you may know, this department is being run like a health care business, which is actually is, so services are billable to insurance companies. Careful management practices and diligent billing and collection efforts have resulted in this department ending the year without needing any direct county taxpayer subsidy. This is important not only because it saves the taxpayer money, but it helps to ensure that the departments needed services will remain in place for the foreseeable future and will not have to be sacrificed to the budget chopping block.
The second thing that is worth mentioning is that the Wayne County Nursing Home also finished the year in the black. That is, the direct subsidy expected was not needed. There is still an indirect subsidy via the state of what is known as IGT funds — we send the state $1 and they send the nursing home $2 — so there is still a ways to go on this, but the trend is our friend on this. The financial picture is improving. In addition, the nursing home is at a three-star quality rating on its way to a five-star quality rating expected by the end of this year. This confirms what we have thought for some time — that the quality of our nursing home care is substantially higher than many other facilities around the state and a good place for our elderly to spend their final years. In both cases, this is a result of good professional management and a dedicated team effort on the part of all the people at both departments. Congratulations to the management team and staff in both departments. These represent success at very difficult tasks.
As a reminder, if you find a streetlight out, please let me know as soon as possible. Please give me the nearest house number. A pole number would be better, but a house number will work. I will report it and get a work order generated to start the replacement process.
Also as a reminder, if you would like to receive your own copy of these reports by email, please send me your email address to and I will add you to the distribution list.