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Legislative Bulletin

September 30, 2022



OML's Annual Conference will take place Oct. 12-14 at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, and this Wednesday, Oct. 5, is the final day to register. Whether you're most looking forward to the Ohio Statehouse tour, legislative updates, networking with colleagues, the variety of session topics, or being entertained by our comedian/magician, please ensure you are registered before the deadline. More Info


As preparations are underway for the FY24-25 state operating budget, OML provided its budget priorities to Gov. Mike DeWine, as well as to the leaders of the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives. OML'S priorities include such items as the restoration of the Local Government Fund, assistance for public safety forces, infrastructure and development. See more below.


On Monday, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge ruled in the case of Morsy v. Dumas that Cleveland must refund city income taxes to Manal Morsy, who lives out of state and was no longer commuting to her work in Cleveland during the pandemic. This is one of five cases brought by the Buckeye Institute to challenge the municipal income tax system in Ohio related to the pandemic. Schaad v. Alder, another case, is expected to be heard by the Ohio Supreme Court next year.


Last week, threats of an active shooter were reported at schools in several OML-member communities for the purposes of "swatting," when someone makes a hoax call to law enforcement to purposefully cause a heavy police or SWAT team response. This misuse of public safety forces costs taxpayers money and diverts critical response times to actual emergencies. The incidents are being investigated, and OML wants the Legislature to look more closely at this issue.

The calls are currently prosecuted as misdemeanors under inducing panic or making a false alarm, but the following legislation, introduced earlier during the current General Assembly session, would make it a third-degree felony that could be elevated to a first-degree felony if someone were injured due to the false report:

Our thanks go to Rep. Miller and Sen. Brenner for their leadership on this issue.


$20 million in grant funding is now available as part the new Community Violence Prevention Grant Program, which is aimed at supporting community-based nonprofits, law enforcement agencies, and state and local government entities that have implemented or would like to implement collaborative approaches toward reducing community violence. Applications are due Nov. 1, and a webinar will take place Oct. 6. More Info


Twenty local first responder agencies will receive a total of $7.7 million to help them boost their staffing levels to ensure thorough coverage for emergency response through the Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience Program. Municipalities receiving funding include the Bethesda Fire Department, Brook Park Police & Fire Departments, Highlight Heights Fire Department, Kirtland Fire Department, Lakemore Police Department, Marion Police Department, North Hampton Police Department, and Port Clinton Fire & Rescue. More Info


$2.5 million in H2Ohio grants will go to four local communities to help improve drinking water quality and to repair or replace aging water and wastewater infrastructure. Recipients include the City of Bucyrus, Village of Nevada, Maysville Regional Water District, and Ohio & Lee Water and Sewer Authority. More Info


The AmeriCorps NCCC North Central Region provides teams of young adults to help communities meet critical needs for 6-8 weeks at a time. Past project partnerships with municipalities have included tree and housing stock inventories, disaster preparedness, addressing blight, and building/repairing parks and trails. If your community is interested in such a partnership, check out the RFP and contact Alana Svensen at (202) 409-6797 for more information.


OML is providing its members with information from Sedgwick on having a safer workplace to reduce BWC claims. This month's articles discusses a tool for controlling hazards in order to reduce the frequency and severity of injuriesRead Article


As preparations are underway for the FY24-25 state operating budget, OML provided its budget priorities to Gov. Mike DeWine, as well as to the leaders of the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives this week. Priorities include such items as the restoration of the Local Government Fund, assistance for public safety forces, infrastructure and development -- all listed below. Thank you to the OML Board of Trustees for their assistance in identifying these priorities.

OML's priorities include:


Local Government Funding


  • Restoration of the Local Government Fund. The LGF is critical to Ohio communities and needs funded to previous funding levels. As you will recall, the previous administration reduced the LGF to its current levels at 1.67% of certain taxes received by the General Revenue Fund, whereas the LGF was previously funded at 3.68% of certain taxes. We applaud the state on its strong Budget Stabilization Fund and its tax collections that have exceeded projections. In light of the robust financial position of the state, we believe now is the time for the state to reinvest in local governments and restore – to its full funding – this critical partnership between the state and its local partners.


Public Safety


  • Police officer training. Training for our first responders remains a top need for Ohio’s municipalities. We ask that the administration continues this focus and provides greater support as opportunities become available.


  • MARCS Radios. In July 2025, all MARCS radios used by police and fire departments must comply with new programming requirements. These new mandates will require the purchase of new radios for our first responders, with an estimated cost of $3,300 per radio, in addition to extra expenses incurred by the need for reprogramming of existing radios. Municipalities will struggle to absorb this unfunded mandate by the state, and we request financial assistance to lessen the financial impact on municipalities by this initiative.


  • Body-worn camera data and storage. Additional funding is needed at the state level for hardware/software/administration related to data collection and storage of this critical resource for Ohio’s first responders.


Infrastructure and Development


  • Brownfields and demolition. This is a transformable need in communities throughout the state for which a permanent funding source is needed. Additional and sustainable financial assistance is needed to keep Ohio’s municipalities the economic development engines of the state.

  • Water and sewer projects. Challenges related to below-ground infrastructure, such as the maintenance and replacement of water and sewer services, remains a continual need for our aging communities as well as those experiencing growth and revitalization.

  • Broadband. Too many areas of Ohio are without adequate broadband and high-speed internet service, which directly challenges the ability of residents and businesses to effectively compete economically and educationally, while also restricting access to healthcare.

  • Roads and bridges. The continued state investment and support for Ohio’s aging above-ground infrastructure, including roads and bridges, remains a top priority for cities and villages.

  • Public transit. Ohio must maintain or increase existing state funding levels for public transportation. Sustainable funding from the state will build on the significant progress made over the past four years and help expand services to address employer and community needs, create modern, fuel-efficient transit fleets, and innovate to meet future mobility demands. 

  • Responsibility over state routes. The league continues our admonition that the state provides support to Ohio’s municipalities in the same fashion provided to Ohio townships through the State of Ohio by providing for the maintenance of state routes that enter into and travel through municipal boundaries.

  • Modernized zoning codes. The league supports the initiative to create a pilot program to help local communities modernize their zoning codes based on changing market preferences. This would help produce modern zoning codes that reduce the time and paperwork needed to construct buildings desired in the current market.


Other Requests


  • Prevailing wage. State policy should support and facilitate project management by municipalities and allow local options and thresholds for prevailing wage.

  • Cemeteries. Currently, cemeteries are provided with a limited funding source that is inadequate for the duties and responsibilities incurred for the proper maintenance of this community asset. The league requests additional funding to meet existing and future challenges for the management of community cemeteries.

  • Cybersecurity. Cyber threats will continue to evolve and remain a problem that could further cost local governments. Additional funding for local governments and their staffs to address the threat of cyber attacks is a needed preventative measure.

  • No preemptions. Preemptions and unfunded mandates from the state level to local governments inhibit their ability to make the best decisions for their communities. OML requests that state leaders ensure preemptions on local governments are not included in the state operating budget.

The budget legislation will be introduced early next year and be signed into law by July 1, 2023.


The following legislation was recently introduced and is of potential interest to municipalities:

HB 724 (Rep. Willis Blackshear, Jr.) – To authorize the use of a digital driver's license or state identification card  Bill Text


OML Annual Conference

Oct. 12-14 | Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel

Join other mayors, council members, city managers, village administrators, departmental staff members, as well as additional stakeholders, civic leaders, and subject-matter experts to discuss best practices and the most pressing issues being faced by Ohio’s cities and villages. Register

Broadband Access Ohio October Meeting

1 p.m. | Oct. 19 | Huntington Building (Columbus)

Broadband Access Ohio is hosting an in-person October meeting that will include sessions on community broadband financing, current challenges, and the legal landscape. Register

OML Webinar: A Primer on Public-Private Partnership Structures Available to Municipalities

11 a.m-12 p.m. | Oct. 27 | Virtual

This webinar will review the common (and not so common) forms of public-private partnership structures that can be deployed by municipalities under Ohio law to drive economic development. We’ll hit the highlights – and the lowlights – of the several that are available to villages and cities. Register

Ohio Energy Conference

Nov. 15-16 | Fairfield Inn & Suites Columbus Polaris

OML members can anticipate connecting with energy providers, energy managers, engineers, consultants and technology specialists at this event with $100 off by using code OML100. Given the rise of global energy costs, the rapidly expanding portfolio of responsibilities for municipalities of all sizes, and the flow of funding for energy infrastructure out of Washington D.C., this event will provide significant value. Register

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