MILLERSBURG -- Health care, infrastructure and federal regulations were discussed when the Holmes County commissioners met recently with a representative for U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs.
Tim Ross recently assumed the position of district director for Gibbs.
In addition to acting as a liaison to Gibbs and Washington, he said, he has an interest in making local governments aware of available grant funding and how Gibbs can help bring such money to Holmes County.
"It's our responsibility to bring tax money back to the community in the forms of grants," said Commissioner Ray Eyler, noting that because it can be more difficult for smaller counties, which have fewer resources, he would appreciate an "email list of grants so we can see what's available."
Ross also said he knows many employers, including the commissioners, are concerned about the cost of healthcare, noting, "That's one of the first things they will tackle. It's a major cost-driver with counties."
In response to Commissioner Joe Miller's inquiry as to whether Congress is "on board with the appeal of Obamacare," Ross said, Gibbs supports repeal and replace. He said a more market-based system, which could eliminate state lines, would "drive up competition and lower costs."
Identified by President Donald Trump as a problem area, infrastructure is likely to be tackled "later in the year," said Ross.
It's an issue the commissioners, who supported the placement of a countywide sales tax on the November ballot, have been concerned with for some time.
The five-year sales tax is a short-term fix to a failed funding mechanism, according to Commissioner Rob Ault, who said he would like to see federal investment in infrastructure "funneled down to the local governments."
Ross said Gibbs also is committed to "making sure federal agencies are easier to deal with."
Specifically citing the Environmental Protection Agency, Ross said, "We hope a new administration and a new director will help to make the agency more approachable."
Considering the local jobs lost, due in part to federal rules and regulations that "drove businesses out," Miller said, it's an issue to which the county looks in moving toward a future in which "we can get real jobs back."
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or email@example.com.