By Nancy Bowman

Miami County’s commissioners agreed last week to hire consultants to study the area between Troy and Piqua along County Road 25A and held a public hearing on the 2018 initial budgets for the county and the Troy-Miami County Public Library.

Burton Planning Services was hired July 6 to do a corridor master development plan for the 25A area between Troy and Piqua to the south and north, respectively; the Great Miami River to the east; and Washington Road to the west. The study area includes Interstate 75’s Exit 78, an undeveloped interchange.

County Development Director Richard Osgood recommended hiring Burton after reviewing three proposals submitted. The company will be paid up to $47,900 for the work.

The commissioners also agreed July 6 to join the Great Miami Riverway Coalition, a group of jurisdictions between Sidney and Hamilton along the river.

The cost approved was $62,500 for an agreement that runs through May 31, 2022.

 Among the organization’s goals are to:

- Increase use of recreational, historical and cultural assets

- Attract more visitors

- Support economic development

- Strengthen river corridor neighborhoods.

The commissioners also held the annual tax budget hearings for the library and the county.

The library general fund budget resources were reported at around $2.9 million. After several years of major projects, the 2018 budget does not include any large projects, the commission was told. The library board, however, plans to continue to put money in a fund to replace the bookmobile.

The library this year received a new bookmobile. Library Director Rachelle Miller told the commission the new vehicle has been well received while making its rounds. The library also is doing more with the vehicle, such as having it at the local farmers market and at some county park district activities, she said.

The county tax budget must be approved by July 15 with a commission vote expected this week. This is the first of two budget steps, said county Auditor Matt Gearhardt. The second phase, the 2018 appropriations, will be addressed later in the year.

The tax budget lists general fund revenues at $26.45 million and appropriations at $31.1 million. The total budget revenues are listed at $83.9 million and appropriations at $90.4 million.

In other business July 6, the commissioners:

- Opened bids for the purchase of pre-stressed concrete beams for the Shiloh Road bridge No. 3.51. One bid was submitted for $161,000 by Prestress Services Industries of Columbus. The estimate for the beams was $186,000. The bid was submitted to the county engineer’s department for review.

- Met in a closed executive session with Gearhardt and Matt Watkins, county IT director, to discuss security issues. No action was taken following that discussion.