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UP: While motorists already may be weary of road construction, taxpayers should be pleased with one of the main focuses of Findlay’s capital improvement plan: roads. Altogether, about $32 million will be spent in 2018 if council gives the go ahead to the plan. That figure includes the city’s share of $7.8 million, plus grants, and state and federal dollars earned for specific projects. The planned projects are wide ranging, but allocate dollars to things that many residents will directly benefit from. Street resurfacing and other repairs will take up $1.7 million; three intersection upgrades will take $375,000; and sewer work and inspections will cost $550,000. The city’s rec center, the Cube, will see HVAC, communication, and safety improvements that could cost over $600,000. No, infrastructure isn’t glamorous or cheap, and no, we’ll never catch up with all the things that need repairs or replaced, but it’s still the best use of tax money.

UP: First wind, now sun. Hardin County is building an impressive resume of alternative energy projects. In the past year, the Hog Creek Wind Farm has spread west from just north of Dunkirk, and could eventually include 30 turbines in all. Now, Hardin is moving into solar on an even bigger scale. Siting permits were approved for the 150-megawatt Hardin Solar Center near Alger, that, once completed, will easily make it the largest solar field in the state. How large? Plans call for an array that’s bigger than 800 football fields. Hardin Solar could generate enough electricity to meet the needs of about 28,000 homes, and if combined with the output from the nearby wind farm, the number rises to about 75,000. Good for Hardin County to be open to alternative energy investments, and the future economic benefits wind and solar should bring.

UP: If Ohio intends to replace its current voting machines in time for the 2020 presidential election, it must start soon. Most of the machines now in use around the state were purchased more than a decade ago using one-time federal funds under the Help America Vote Act. The Hancock County commissioners learned recently that the state is offering to pay 85 percent of the cost to replace them. Replacement costs for Hancock have been estimated at $5 million, leaving the county with about a $750,000 tab. The commissioners should find a way to fund the county’s share of the upgrade so voters here can test drive the new machines well before the next presidential election.



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