WILMINGTON — The possibility was raised Wednesday of having two separate funds within the Clinton County Foundation related to former hospital monies.
County commissioners continue to work on a donor agreement to transfer to the Foundation $3 million left from the former county-owned hospital’s business operations.
The local Foundation would manage the dollars, but would not award the interest income generated by the invested principal. Instead, the grant dollars would be awarded, commissioners have said, by an advisory board.
The membership makeup of that board has not been determined by the county commissioners, and they met with their legal counsel Wednesday on that question and related matters.
Andrew McCoy, who serves as the commissioners’ legal counsel, said he thinks the key factor is whether commissioners want to make the money into “a true endowment” whereby commissioners actually relinquish control, at least over the initial $3 million. Though the Board of Commissioners would not actually possess the money, the advantage is higher income from the interest.
Moreover, the board to award grants would not draw from the $3 million original principal. In that respect, the $3 million would be locked up for perpetuity.
If the county commissioners want to comprise the grant-awarding board, they could only award the interest income, according to McCoy, who added further research would be necessary before providing final advice.
Clinton County Commissioner Kerry Steed wants clarification on ramifications of adding undistributed interest income or other monies to the original $3 million principal.
At the outset of Wednesday’s conversation, Commissioner Patrick Haley also indicated he wants legal clarification on whether a commissioner can sit on a board that would award the grants.
McCoy will prepare a letter requesting an Attorney General opinion regarding two options: establishing one fund in the Foundation or, in the alternative, setting up two funds in the Foundation.
Also Wednesday, Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CCCVB) Executive Director Debbie Stamper presented an annual report concerning the CCCVB’s marketing plan and budget for 2016. The agency, funded by a local lodging tax, has the mission to grow the number of visitors who seek services from the local hospitality industry such as hotels, restaurants and service stations.
She told commissioners that although the Internet “has become the go-to for travel planning,” the local demand for print has increased. In 2016, the CCCVB will print 70,000 Visitors Guides in response to the number of guides distributed in 2015, she reported.
On the topic of customer or visitor experience, Stamper said “destination development for tourism growth” has not been in the local Economic Development Work Group’s “immediate radar.”
Stamper added she sees “a real lack of support for infrastructure development for [local] tourism activities and entities,” which she attributed in part to limited financial resources.
Steed, who owns and operates Generations Pizzeria on the east side of Wilmington, said he believes there is a direct link between sports tourism and Clinton County as a destination “because I see that in my business.” He specifically mentioned softball tournaments, equine events at Roberts Arena, and motor sports at the air park.
In other news Wednesday from commissioners:
• A public hearing will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 2 in the commissioners office on the second floor of the county courthouse for information about the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and related programs for Fiscal Year 2016.
• Steed has been appointed to serve on the County Commissioners Association of Ohio’s Agriculture & Rural Affairs committee in 2016.
“This appointment will allow me to represent the voice of our farming community in Columbus on the serious issues they face on a continual basis such as CAUV and other issues facing our community,” Steed said Wednesday.
• There is an open seat on the Clinton County Public Defender’s Board. Interested people can contact the commissioners office at 937-382-2103 for more information.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.