MOUNT VERNON — Making major decisions which have a direct impact on thousands of county residents can seem to be a daunting task. Yet this is what faces Knox County Engineer Jim Henry practically on a daily basis.
“Our responsibility is the administration of roads and bridges and to manage a $5 million budget,” said Henry in discussing his duties as county engineer. “It’s a lot of administrative work and dealing with personnel issues. We are in the business of providing safe roads and bridges for the public. And I think we have done a remarkable job.”
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Henry oversees the activity of an assistant to the engineer, three superintendents (roads, bridges, garage), a staff of 30 highway workers and foremen, and mechanics and equipment operators as well as office staff. “About 50 percent of my time is spent actually working on projects,” admitted Henry. The remainder of his time is spent on administration, interpreting contracts and attending meetings.
Henry explained how Ohio is divided up into 12 transportation districts. Knox County is part of Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 5 which also includes Coshocton, Muskingum, Licking, Guernsey, Fairfield and Perry counties. Each county reports to the district office, with the District 5 office being located in Newark.
Revenue to fund the engineer’s office comes from motor vehicle registrations, gasoline taxes, highway offenses, permissive licenses (old and new), refunds and reimbursements, access permits and a scrap tire grant. Total revenues for 2010 were $5,055,489.46. Expenditures are broken down into an engineer’s account, road accounts and bridge accounts. Total expenditures for 2010 were $4,884,682.04.