The Franklin County Commissioners released their annual State of the County report yesterday, which can be found online at report.franklincountyohio.gov
. The report details the ways that the Board of Commissioners serves county residents every day and includes highlights from the commissioners’ 14 agencies and some county and community partners. This year, the report focuses heavily on the many ways that the commissioners worked to help their residents weather the storm of COVID-19. It declares the state of Franklin County to be strong, and looks forward to a future beyond the pandemic.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way that our team responded to the pandemic,” said Board of Commissioners President, Kevin L. Boyce. “We managed to move most of our operations online without disrupting services, provided hundreds of public health briefings, and distributed more than $76 million in aid. We know that many of our residents are still struggling, however, and we’re prepared to keep working to support them for the long-haul.”
Among the pandemic responses highlighted in the report is the Board of Commissioners’ leadership in converting the Greater Columbus Convention Center to a 1,000-bed overflow hospital facility to be used in case area hospitals were overwhelmed. The report also notes the opening last year of a new Forensic Science Center for the county, and the doubling of participation goals for minority, female, and other disadvantaged business enterprises in the construction of the Forensic Science Center and new county jail. It also highlights county efforts to expand affordable housing options, support new businesses and childcare providers, and expanding law enforcement capabilities.
“The state of Franklin County is strong,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “Throughout this difficult time, we have committed to not layoff or furlough any employees, to keep providing the level of service our residents expect, and to always be fiscally responsible with the county budget. I’m glad to say that we’ve been able to do all those things and still maintain our Double Triple-A bond rating.”
The report is laid out in sections according to the commissioners’ list of six core principles of good governance
. For many years, these have included Community Safety & Security, Job Creation & Economic Development, Health & Human Services, Environmental Sustainability, and Fiscally Responsible Government. This year, the commissioners have added Racial Equity as a new core principle, following the commissioners’ finding in 2018 as part of their Rise Together Blueprint for Reducing Poverty
that racial inequity plays a key role in economic disparities. They’ve taken a number of steps to begin to address these inequities, including declaring racism a public health crisis
, creating a Racial Equity Council in their office and hiring a Chief Economic Equity and Inclusion Officer, targeting some pandemic relief efforts at underserved communities and minority-owned businesses, and offering implicit bias and racial equity training to hundreds of leadership and staff at the county and with community partners.
“We’re proud to serve every resident, every day in Franklin County,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “And we’re proud of everything our team does every day to help continue to make Central Ohio a great place to build a business or raise a family, even in the face of a very difficult year like the last one has been.”
For more information and to see the report in full, visit report.franklincountyohio.gov