LISBON — Columbiana County government received $495,318 in investment interest income for 2022, but the projected income for this year is nearly three times that at $1,361,101, according to the investment report shared with commissioners Wednesday.
The numbers were discussed during the Investment Advisory Board session during the commissioners’ meeting. The board includes the county commissioners, Clerk of Courts Tony Dattilio and county Treasurer Bryan Blakeman.
Meeder Investment Management Portfolio Manager Jim McCourt, who oversees the county’s investment portfolio, updated commissioners regarding their investment strategy.
He advised the projected $1.3 million investment income may be guaranteed due to the plan to move money into longer term investments to lock in the higher interest rates. He said the projected income could end up closer to $2 million or more, noting that doesn’t include interest income from the cash account through Star Ohio, which is currently paying over 4.5 percent interest. The investment portfolio includes $91,915,919 invested in securities and $28,445,359 in cash in Star Ohio.
The commissioners also heard an update from Encino Energy External Affairs Director Jackie Stewart, who introduced the company’s new community relations coordinator Zach Kent and gave some information about oil/gas drilling and well production.
She said Encino Energy is continuing to explore Columbiana County and noted that the location on Mountz Road in Hanover Township is now in production and they’re liking what they’re seeing so far. She said the company is still leasing and the city of Salem worked well with the company on some water needs. She also praised the good working relationship with Hanover Township trustees.
Overall, Stewart said the company sent out $295 million in royalty checks to property owners. She was checking on the number for Columbiana County. As the company produces more in Columbiana County, she said the numbers will rise, explaining that bigger checks come early on when a well starts producing then they level off. Property owners are kept informed with a quarterly newsletter.
The company, with an office in Carrollton, is focusing on Ohio and working with Ohio suppliers, with steel casings made in Youngstown.
Stewart also stressed the need for workers for both Encino and for their contractors, with a large need for truck drivers. Job opportunities can be viewed at encinoenergy.com under careers, with several listings in Carrollton.
Kent spoke briefly about the community partnership program and said the company gave $1.46 million in donations last year. Two recipients were located in Columbiana County, with money donated to Hanover Township and the Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center.
In other business, commissioners authorized advertising for bids to replace the Homeworth Bridge on Georgetown Road, with the bid opening Feb. 22, approved proposed changes to the Prevention, Retention, Contingency Plan regarding COVID-19 language and didn’t request a hearing regarding a liquor permit request for the Family Dollar store on state Route 45, Lisbon.
The commissioners also welcomed members of Leadership Columbiana County, led by Amanda Frost, who said they’re focusing on county government this month.
The next meeting of county commissioners will be 9 a.m. Jan. 25.