BEAVERCREEK — Paul Newman Jr., says 2016 was Greene County’s best economic year ever.
“We’re happy to report that overall Greene County continues to be financially sound,” Newman said to a room full of county officials April 21 at the 28th Greene County Annual Report to the Community.
As Director of Department of Development, Newman talks in numbers.
Construction valuations — residential and commercial combined — totaled to $316 million, which doesn’t account for Wright Patterson Air Force Base’s (WPAFB) yet-to-come numbers. In 2015, WPAFB contributed $100 million in construction valuation. If they reported their average of $80 million, the overall number this year would be the highest on record.
According to Newman, both average employment and total wages are up, both at their highest since 2004.
Sales tax, general property tax and hotel lodging tax collected also all set records for the county, continuing the upward trend. Sales tax reached just under $27 million, while general property tax hit just under $38 million and hotel lodging tax collected just over $1 million.
The director also reported that the county’s unemployment rate at the end of 2016 was 4.3 percent — which is down slightly from the previous year. Greene County’s rate continues to trend less than the state’s, which was five percent at year end.
Newman attributed the county’s financial health partly to nearby WPAFB.
“We are very much aware that Greene County maintains a level of prosperity as a result of being the home to Wright Patterson Air Force Base,” he said.
WPAFB, the largest single-site employer in the state, provides over 27,000 jobs and supports nearly 60,000 indirect jobs in the region — what Newman says is a $4.3 billion economic impact.
Greene County businesses experienced growth in 2016 and are creating jobs, too.
The 32 “major growth companies” included Mills Park Hotel, Frontier Technology, Inc., Spintech Ventures, Kroger Market Place, TradeGlobal, Tangible Solutions and Stonehill Village.
As for the future of the county, growth is expected to continue. Particularly in several key industries: health care, social assistance, professional, scientific, technical services, finance and insurance.
Future efforts reportedly will be directed toward creating economic diversity, opportunity, and maintaining a competitive work force.
“In conclusion, it wasn’t a good year for Greene County. By all key indicators, it was Greene County’s best year ever,” Newman said.
Reach Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.