Commission gives money to find jobs

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2000

County commissioners donated $2,500 Thursday to a newly-formed Ironton community foundation for marketing the area’s workforce to create jobs.

Friday, January 14, 2000

County commissioners donated $2,500 Thursday to a newly-formed Ironton community foundation for marketing the area’s workforce to create jobs.

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"Several of the banks and businesses and others have donated to set up a fund to advertise to locate a business to come in here," commissioner Paul Herrell said. "It’s money well-spent."

Dr. Bill Dingus, chairman of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and dean of Ohio University Southern Campus, announced last week that community leaders were forming the foundation.

The Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization pledged an initial $2,500. OUSC matched the amount.

Herrell said local banks and River Valley Health System also have made financial pledges.

If local donations to the foundation reach $12,000 to $15,000, the state will be asked to provide matching dollars, Dingus said.

T.J. Justice, director of Gov. Bob Taft’s Region 7 Economic Development Office, confirmed the state’s support at a public meeting Tuesday night.

Up to $30,000 in matching funds for marketing are available, but it depends upon how much the foundation raises, Justice said.

The state wants to partner with Ironton in launching an economic campaign that the state will fund, he said.

Such emphasis on bringing jobs to Lawrence County is what commissioners want to see, Herrell said.

Herrell traveled to Jackson Thursday morning with Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary, state Rep. Bill Ogg and others to garner tips from that area’s success in attracting two food manufacturers.

"There are people in trouble and there are jobs in Jackson, but by the time you drive an hour up and back, it’s just not feasible for a $7 an hour job," he said.

What local workers need, especially former Cabletron employees, is an extension of unemployment benefits, he added.

An extension will take a federal action to establish, so commissioners are writing letters to U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, U.S. senators Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, and state legislators, Herrell said.

"If we can get unemployment extended, it will help while we take time to get out of this slump."

Commission president Bruce Trent also suggested local economic development leaders recruit with industries other than manufacturing that are obviously looking for new areas.

An antibiotic company operating in the Caribbean lost its plant last year due to a hurricane, and it was the only manufacturer of certain antibiotics, so they began looking desperately for another site, Trent said.

"Lawrence County has no hurricanes or tornadoes," he said. "We have the location and the workforce for it."

The commission directed a letter to LEDC executive director Pat Clonch, asking that Mrs. Clonch evaluate the county’s ability to attract such an industry.

Also Thursday, commissioners heard a report from Lawrence County 911/EMA director Don Mootz about the number of calls to the agency last year.

"In actual calls, we processed 15,724, but we probably received two to three calls per incident, like accidents or fires," Mootz said.

Total call volume probably approached 35,000 calls, he said.

Dispatchers logged 5,900 calls for an ambulance, the largest number of calls.

Calls for city, county and village fire departments totaled 2,650. Calls for the Ohio Highway Patrol numbered 1,036, while 1,591 callers asked for the Ironton Police Department and 4,077 asked for the Sheriff’s Department.

There were 470 miscellaneous calls, most of which came from emergency call buttons people wear.