OneOhio funds will soon be part of Holmes Co. budget

OneOhio funds will soon be part of Holmes Co. budget

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Holmes County will add to its annual budget funds that are available to the county in 2023, thanks to a state settlement.

Recently, each county in the state of Ohio learned they would receive money from a settlement in a lawsuit against several pharmaceutical companies in the fight against opioids.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine worked with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and Ohio’s local community leaders to create the OneOhio plan to jointly approach settlement negotiations with the drug manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

On July 18, the Holmes County commissioners passed Resolution 07-18-22-2, authorizing the establishment of the OneOhio settlement fund account to be included in the Holmes County budget beginning in 2023.

The special fund was derived from funds received from a settlement in the state against several big pharmaceutical companies, with the funds focusing on fighting the ongoing war on opioids.

The resolution will allow Holmes County to explore where and how it should apply the funds.

Holmes County commissioner Dave Hall has been appointed to serve on the OneOhio committee, where a representative from each of Ohio’s 88 counties will join several other state representatives.

Hall said this resolution is setting up the funds to run through the Holmes County auditor’s system. He said Holmes County will receive $11,550 annually over the next 18 years.

“It is required by the state auditor’s office to have that in our system,” Hall said. “We will work on where we will be able to use those dollars in addressing opioid challenges, addictions and education. Later, when we get those dollars in, we will be bringing people in to figure out where we can best spend those dollars.”

Hall said this is a step toward each county in Ohio putting the funds to good use. He said the Region 11 board of which Holmes County is a member is made up of counties in the OMEGA region.

“We will begin early discussions within the committee soon,” Hall said. “There are parameters that are set where the lawsuit requires us to put the money. Once I come back from that meeting, we will have a stronger understanding of who needs to be at the table at the local level and who will have that control. I expect that we will be contacting all who have been impacted and how we can best spend those dollars.”

Hall said the lawsuit states counties don’t have to spend the funds immediately and can allow the funds to accrue to fund larger projects or to meet needs or provide prevention. He said the county will connect with first responders, who often are on the front line in dealing with people who are under the effects of opioids.