Oct. 10—SHEFFIELD TOWNSHIP — Ashtabula County Port Authority Director Mark Winchell was the guest speaker at the Northeast Ohio Auditor Association meeting held Friday at Brant's Apple Orchard.
More than 30 county auditors, staff, and third-party vendors attended the meeting, while enjoying Brant's apple cider donuts and cider.
"We had a really successful year-end meeting," said Ashtabula County Auditor David Thomas, secretary/treasurer of the group. "I'm glad I could show off some of Ashtabula County's fall beauty to folks across Ohio."
The meeting kicked off with a welcome from Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham, who serves as president of the group.
Following announcements, Thomas welcomed attendees to the county and introduced Winchell.
"The port is the avenue for many creative ways to address community issues," said Winchell. "Ashtabula County is taking advantage of this ability to help our county in some really cool ways."
Winchell spoke to economic development projects the county Port Authority has been involved in over the years, such as brownfield development, Plant C's water pumping abilities, and special financing for projects in Ashtabula County.
"The Auditor's Office and the Port Authority interact in many ways that the public may not realize, but is very beneficial to our long-term economic health in Ashtabula County," Thomas said.
Winchell encouraged the auditors to work with their local port authorities and share resources.
Many participants then took a tour of Brant's Apple Orchard before hearing from Brant's owner, Brian Diehl, who spoke about the history of the 60-plus acre property.
"The community has been so supportive of what we wanted to do here and it has been great working with our partners and providing a place for people to enjoy," Diehl said.
He also spoke to supply chain and labor shortage issues that his business has been experiencing since COVID and how they have worked to provide the best experience for their customers.
Auditors asked many questions about the orchard and the work it takes to maintain the operations.
"This is a lovely place," Meacham said.
Before lunch, the group held their business meeting.
Meacham closed the meeting with elections of officers for 2023, with unanimous approval of all candidates.
Lorain County Auditor Craig Snodgrass was selected to serve as president of the County Auditors' Association of Ohio for 2023.
Meacham will continue serving the district association as president next year with Lake County Auditor Chris Galloway serving as vice president and Thomas returning as secretary/treasurer.