The Franklin County Commissioners this morning released their annual State of the County Report, detailing the ways their office works to support Franklin County residents every day and throughout the year. It’s available online at Report.FranklinCountyOhio.gov
. This year, there is particular focus on supports for families and businesses still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other supports, the commissioners’ team made almost $5 million in grants and loans to struggling small businesses last year, provided more than $6 million in rental and mortgage assistance for families, facilitated the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, and distributed more than 8.5 million items of personal protective equipment to local hospitals and other partners.
“While Franklin County continues to grow and prosper, we are intimately aware of the diverse challenges our neighbors confront on a daily basis, even before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Board of Commissioners President Erica C. Crawley. “Our community is strong, but the past few years haven’t been easy. That’s why the Board of Commissioners is committed to implementing innovative solutions to complex problems. Success for Franklin County means that everyone – including individuals, families, businesses, and non-profits – are thriving, not just surviving.”
The annual report is divided into six sections, each based around one of the commissioners’ core principles
for good governance. Each section highlights the work of several of the commissioners’ 14 agencies that support a particular principle, and include photos, statistics, graphs, and videos. Counties are the main provider of social services in Ohio, for instance, and providing Supportive Health and Human Services is one of the commissioners’ core principles. The report details how the commissioners’ Job and Family Services, Office on Aging, Child Support Enforcement, and Justice Policy and Programs departments served 400,000 residents on Medicaid and 175,000 receiving food assistance last year as well as more than 80,000 Franklin County Children and providing transportation, housekeeping, and meals to seniors and wrap-around services to residents reentering the community from incarceration.
“County government touches the lives of every one of our residents each year, and we’re proud of the job we do for them, and also of the fantastic team we have working for us in the commissioners’ office” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “They’re working every day on efficient and innovative ways to help serve and support our residents.”
Innovation is a consistent theme of this year’s report, with a number of exciting new initiatives debuting in 2021. Among them are Women@Work, which is designed to help women rejoin the workforce following the pandemic, and Learning Lunchboxes, a collaboration with COSI to provide entertaining educational activities to young people. The commissioners also opened a Rapid Resource Center at the county jail to provide services directly to people being released from the jail, and funded a Diversity Apprenticeship Program to help people of color join the travel and tourism industry, which supports nearly 80,000 jobs in Central Ohio. They also created two new websites last year, Rentful614.com
to connect struggling families with resources to help them stay in their homes, and Recovery.FranklinCountyOhio.gov
for residents to track the county’s spending of American Rescue Plan funds.
“The last two years have been tough on all of us but our community and our team have so much to be proud of, including how we have responded to the challenges we’ve faced,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce who was president of the board in 2021. “In addition to highlighting those successes, this report also helps make our residents aware of the services that are available to them so that they can do the best for their own families as they climb the ladder of economic mobility.”
The report also finds that financial state of Franklin County is strong despite an initial dip in sales tax revenue and the additional costs of the pandemic. The county boasts a $62.5 million rainy day fund, is one of only three percent of local governments that maintains a double Triple-A credit rating, and had about $250 million in cash on-hand at the beginning of the year. About 40% of the county’s All Funds budget supports health and human services, and about 60% of the General Fund budget goes to safety and security.
You can find the 2022 State of the County report at Report.FranklinCountyOhio.gov