Hamilton County commissioners are outlining their goals for the upcoming year. That includes welcoming a new commissioner, who is expected to be named this weekend by the Democratic Party to replace Todd Portune, who resigned Dec. 31 because of his battle with cancer.
Commission President Denise Driehaus says work will continue to reduce heroin addiction. That includes adding new treatment beds at the county jail.
"That will hopefully come online at the end of this year and accommodate 90 treatment beds in the justice center," Driehaus said. "So that's a big deal and it's a step forward for Hamilton County, but it's just part of the work that the heroin coalition is doing."
The county received a grant from the state to help pay for the project. It will be advertising for bids for that construction work in the coming weeks.
Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas said she plans to focus on the "Boys to Men Initiative."
"To try to help with the pipeline that leads to prison, that we're trying to stop that pipeline, clog it up and allow activities and mentoring," Summerow Dumas said. "Just support for those young people, those young males, those that are involved in JFS (Job and Family Services) and other ones that are not, that are out in the community."
Driehaus also said the board will continue work with the Port Authority, to finalize acquisition of the former Millennium Hotel in Downtown Cincinnati.
"That will likely resolve itself sometime here in the beginning of the year, but it's on the horizon and we're anxious to get that resolved and move forward when it comes to the headquarter hotel," Driehaus said. "To the benefit of especially the convention center and some of the economic activity in that part of the city and the county."
The old hotel will be torn down, but The Port and the county are still trying to determine if a new hotel to serve the convention center will be built at that location.
Driehaus said work will continue to make Metropolitan Sewer District rates more affordable, and focusing on the national census to make sure all county residents are counted in the process.
Another focus area will be reducing poverty.
"We are trying to put a new emphasis on some of the underlying reasons people don't feel stable and we have poverty in our community," Driehaus said. "Our housing strategy has been part of that, and we have started to redirect some of our dollars to this effort."
She said the focus includes jobs, transportation and housing.
The county commissioners will continue to have one evening meeting a month in various county communities. There's one Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Blue Ash Municipal Building starting at 6:30 p.m.