Here are the top four things you need to know from this past week:
  • This week, the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas dismissed the Buckeye Institute’s lawsuit against City of Columbus, which challenged the constitutionality of Section 29 of HB 197. The court granted the City of Columbus’s motion for dismissal and reflected that, as stated in the decision, “Ohio law has long recognized an employee may temporarily work outside of the employee’s principle place of work during the tax year and yet be subject to an annual tax by the municipality where the employee’s principal place of work is located.” The Buckeye Institute has said they plan to appeal the decision to the Tenth District. The other cases brought by the Buckeye Institute in Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Lucas county courts are still pending. Oral arguments in the Hamilton County cases are expected to begin next week. You can read the dismissal in full HERE and read more in the article below.
  • Budget Watch: As Ohio Senate committees continue to unpack and examine changes members of the Ohio House of Representatives made to Sub. HB 110, the current version of the 2022-‘23 State Operating Budget bill, we have compiled a list of issues currently in the legislation most impactful to municipalities. The League encourages our members to share with us and their members of the Ohio legislature any concerns or issues with items included in the current version of the proposed state budget bill. You can find the list HERE.
  • ·        This week, the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and the Ohio Grants Partnership held the first in a series of webinars providing more information on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and local reporting of CARES Act dollars. The League greatly appreciates Director Murnieks and her team for providing this important information for our members. A recording of the webinar will be made available on our website later next week when it is released, and we will make the link available in our legislative bulletin next Friday. Members can also find the guidance released by the U.S. Department of Treasury detailing the steps local governments must take to receive ARPA funds on the Treasury website HERE. Read more about the steps municipalities must take in the article below.

  • ·        It is with deep sadness that we must share with our members that long time Trotwood Clerk of Council Lois Singleton passed away Wednesday. Lois had served as Clerk of Council to the city of Trotwood since 1989 and was an active member of the OML Board of Trustees and served as the League’s President in 2005. Lois also served the Ohio Municipal Clerks Association and served as President of OMCA from 2002-2003. Always a great champion of Ohio’s municipalities, Lois was a true friend to the OML and the National League of Cities and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones.
This week, the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas dismissed the Buckeye Institute’s lawsuit against City of Columbus, which challenged the constitutionality of Section 29 of HB 197. This is the temporary COVID-19 withholding provision instructing municipalities to continue withholding municipal income tax at a taxpayer’s place of work, even if the taxpayer is currently working from home in a different local jurisdiction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The court granted the City of Columbus’s motion for dismissal and ruled that Sec. 29 of HB 197 is constitutional. The Buckeye Institute has said they plan to appeal to the Tenth District.
In addition to seeking a declaration that Sec. 29 of HB 197 was unconstitutional, the Buckeye Institute was also seeking a refund of the taxes paid to Columbus while the plaintiffs were working from home during the pandemic, and to prohibit Columbus from collecting future taxes on income earned outside Columbus for the remaining time Sec. 29 of HB 197 is in effect.
In the ruling, the court stated that the “temporary law sought to regulate and limit the disruption and uncertainty that the statewide Stay-at-Home Order would otherwise have on municipal taxation, by establishing a uniform set of equally statewide rules applicable for the duration of the emergency. To that end, Section 29 of HB 197 treated remote work performed under the Stay-at Home Order as if it had occurred at the employee's principal place of business.”
“We appreciate that the courts found that the legal challenge to the temporary withholding policy was without merit,” said League Executive Director Kent Scarrett, in a press release. “We hope that the Ohio legislature recognizes the court’s determination of the validity of Section 29 of HB 197 and that they work with our municipalities to extend the sunsetting of this temporary policy in order to avoid unnecessary and dramatic impacts to municipal revenues and the critical essential services they provide.”
The National League of Cities (NLC) has distributed the following guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury regarding what metropolitan cities and non-entitlement units of local government need to do to receive federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). You can find the Treasury website HERE. These steps should be taken as soon as possible to ensure local governments receive their funds in a timely fashion.
As soon as possible, metropolitan cities should take the steps below.
1.     Ensure the entity has a valid DUNS number. A DUNS number is a unique nine-character number used to identify an organization and is issued by Dun & Bradstreet. The federal government uses the DUNS number to track how federal money is allocated. A DUNS number is required prior to registering with the SAM database, which is outlined below. Registering for a DUNS number is free of charge.
If an entity does not have a valid DUNS number, please visit or call 1-866-705-5711 to begin the registration process.
2.     Ensure the entity has an active SAM registration. SAM is the official government-wide database to register with in order to do business with the U.S. government. All Federal financial assistance recipients must register on and renew their SAM registration annually to maintain an active status to be eligible to receive Federal financial assistance. There is no charge to register or maintain your entity SAM registration.
If an entity does not have an active SAM registration, please visit, to begin the entity registration or renewal process. Please note that SAM registration can take up to three weeks; delay in registering in SAM could impact timely payment of funds.
3.     Gather the entity's payment information, including:
o   Entity Identification Number (EIN), name, and contact information
o   Name and title of an authorized representative of the entity
o   Financial institution information (e.g., routing and account number, financial institution name and contact information)
Eligible Non-entitlement Units of Local Government will receive a distribution of funds from their respective state government. "Non-entitlement units of local government" are defined in 42 U.S.C. 5302(a)(5) that are not metropolitan cities. For these Non-entitlement units of local government, Treasury will allocate and pay funds to state governments, and the state will distribute funds to non-entitlement units of local government in proportion to population. Non-entitlement units must have a valid DUNS number to meet reporting requirements under the program. If an entity does not have a valid DUNS number, please visit or call 1-866-705-5711 to begin the registration process.
The U.S. Department of Treasury has stated that program guidance for Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund will be released in the coming weeks. We will keep our members apprised as more information is made available.
The first webinar is on the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP) and will be held on May 13 at 10 .a.m. WRRSP is designed to protect and preserve some of Ohio’s highest water quality resources. The webinar will include updates on the program and highlights for program year 2022, including the program’s annual call for project nominations, pre nominations, project management plans, readiness-to-proceed criteria and funding sources.
To learn more and to register, click HERE.
The second webinar will be held on May 25 at 2 p.m. and will cover what local leaders should know about water resource protection - wetlands, docks, seawalls, and more. The webinar will provide an overview of the requirements associated with construction and modifications near or at a lake, stream, wetland, or other water body in Ohio and the opportunities for local protection. To learn more and to register, click HERE.
On May 19 at 11 a.m., the League will be hosting a webinar with Verizon’s Public Sector Team to detail how Verizon has leveraged technology to enhance and improve communication, local transparency and safety for Ohio’s local communities.
The webinar will cover how technology and communication can continue to enhance the safety of communities, how Ohio communities have leveraged technology to improve citizen communication and local transparency, and how Verizon can help improve quality of life for Ohio residents and increase city efficiency. To learn more and to register, click HERE



Below is an article from the Public Entities Pool of Ohio (PEP) on the different ways municipalities can invest in parks and the critical role they play in Ohio’s local communities.

How Has the Future of Parks Changed?
While parks and recreation have always been important to the state of Ohio, the COVID-19 pandemic refocused the attention of the importance of parks and recreation to members of our local communities. Three in five U.S. residents — more than 190 million people — visited a park, trail, public open space or other recreation facility at least once during the first three months of the pandemic, and over half of U.S. residents maintained or increased park, trail and open space usage during those same months.
And, as a result of the pandemic, the future of parks and recreation facilities look different. A different look means new trends throughout the industry. Parks have already seen changes, which may include the redesign of public gathering spots to focus on social distancing. For indoor spaces, this may include the reconfiguration of existing spaces to handle pedestrian traffic. This article will focus on new trends in the parks and recreation industry regarding playgrounds, technology, and sports facilities.
Progressive playground design has always focused on ways to increase physical strength and fitness, encourage imagination and play, and strengthen a sense of community belonging. Playground designers continue to find ways to add creativity, adventure, and expanded sensory experiences to make outdoor play even more engaging. Highlighted below are new trends in playgrounds.
Inclusive Playgrounds:
Inclusive playgrounds allow children and adults of all abilities to interact and play with each other. New playground equipment and universal designs are providing both challenging and engaging opportunities for visitors to share equally, thus eliminating separate areas for those with special needs.
Natural Landscape:
More playground designers are working around the natural environment for play space. Natural play areas tend to incorporate winding pathways, irregular and organic shapes, and natural elements, such as stones, boulders, tree stumps and branches.
Community Health and Wellness:
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many indoor gyms and fitness centers were forced to close. Their closures forced people to find alternative ways to exercise.
Themed Playgrounds:
Themed playgrounds, made to look like a circus or spaceship, are another growing trend. Playgrounds with themes such as sports, music, and animals, are a great way to promote creative and imaginative play.
Musical Features:
Developers are installing chimes, xylophones, marimbas, bells, drums– even small keyboards– into playgrounds to stimulate motor and cognitive development in children and provide spontaneous outlets for self-expression.
Technology in Parks:
Parks are using more technology to engage and inspire park-goers to learn and develop a deeper connection with the outdoors. Highlighted below are new trends in park technology:
Beacon Counters:
Beacon counters are simple, relatively inexpensive Bluetooth-enabled devices that attach to a variety of interior and exterior locations. These devices detect a person’s presence through their cellphone signal and relay that information to a central location. These devices can attach to light poles, fencing and signs, and can power themselves through photovoltaic cells. Retail stores often use beacons to reach customers through both online personal promotions and in-store usability. However, the parks and recreation industry is also using this technology.
Gamification is a fast-growing trend, especially in the world of eLearning. Gamification is the concept of applying game-design elements to non-game contexts. Scavenger hunts, for example, are a great way to incorporate gamification. Scavenger hunt mobile applications (“apps”) can be used to collect items marked by beacons throughout parks for points or prizes.  The City of Jacksonville, FL, is using beacon devices located throughout their parks to allow park-goers to gain points towards their Go365, which is an employee wellness program app. The city also utilizes beacons at their gyms to allow users to get points for their workouts.
Geofencing is a location-based service in which an app or other software uses GPS or RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology to locate people within their areas. This technology can be used to sense when visitors enter parks and communicate to them via opt-in mobile apps. Hikers, for instance, can utilize geofencing-enabled apps that tell park rangers where they are at any given time, thus allowing park rangers to act quickly in the event of an emergency.
One popular app, Pokémon Go, uses mobile devices with GPS to locate, train, and battle virtual creatures as if they are in the player’s real-world location. Parks across the country have welcomed the invasion of these creatures and are using it to attract young families.
Like them or not, drones are becoming increasingly accepted in parks. There is much for a park to consider if or when it allows drones in their parks. However, drones can offer park staff assistance with public safety and improve security.
Sport Fields:
Just as the aesthetic design of homes and apartments change, so do recreation center and sport complex design. Highlighted below are some of the newest trends in sports facilities and complexes:
New designs to improve comfort and overall experience
Improved Lighting:
New advances in LED capabilities offering longer-lasting bulbs while cutting down on power consumption
More Connectivity:
More Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for greater engagement with fans
Retrofit Projects:
Often, if a facility is not pulling its financial weight, changes will take place. This may include tennis courts being converted to pickleball courts and pools retrofitted into skate parks.
Rise in Synthetic Turf:
Synthetic turf can offer less overall maintenance and expenses than natural grass. Artificial turf can be used safely in inclement weather conditions and allows for almost nonstop use if the fields provide lighting. One downside will be the need to replace the turf 10 to 15 years down the road.
Olympic Sports:
When a new sport debuts at an Olympic Games, often the sport sees an increase in interest. That interest usually manifests itself into more kids wanting to try that sport. The Tokyo Olympics will include freestyle BMX and skateboarding, which could lead to an increase in participation and demand for these sports facilities.
2020 was a challenging year and proved the importance and resiliency of the parks and recreation industry. The industry, just like the times, is ever changing. Park Professionals have both the knowledge and foresight to adapt to new trends. Understanding these trends and being prepared for them can help bring communities together and enhance the park going experience for everyone.
To learn more about the resources and services available to our members through PEP, you can visit their website HERE.
·        As of Thursday afternoon, Ohio is reporting 1,070,771 cases of coronavirus, 19,188 resident deaths, 56,272 hospitalizations and 7,772 ICU admissions.
Quarantine Health Order:
  • Governor DeWine announced that any Ohioan who has been fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19. This health order applies to all adults, except those who are in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or other congregate care settings. 
  • Nursing homes and long-term care facilities, including staff and residents, should continue to quarantine following CDC guidance. 
  • An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • As of Tuesday, 4.6 million Ohioans have received their first vaccine, and 3.6 million are fully vaccinated. 
Mass Vaccination Clinic:
  • Ohio's Mass Vaccination Clinic at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center will now accept walk-ins and will offer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week and next week.
  • Walk-ins are welcome from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
  • Ohioans are still encouraged to visit to look for open appointments or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to book an appointment over the phone. 
Economic Update:
  • Presently, on, there are 180,773 total jobs available and 92,866 of those jobs have a salary of over $50,000.
  • Additionally, workforce development programs, such as TechCred and IMAP, aim to upskill Ohioans, making businesses and the state more competitive.
Intermediate Health Care Order:
  • Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Department of Health is rescinding the September 24, 2020 order that gave guidelines for indoor and outdoor visitation at intermediate care facilities.
  • Intermediate care facilities should now follow current guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to determine appropriate access to the facility and resident visitation. 
·        HB 2 – Broadband Services. Sponsored by Rep. Carfagna (R – Genoa Twp.) and Rep. Stewart (R – Ashville), is regarding broadband expansion, including access to electric cooperative easements and facilities, to make an appropriation, and declares an emergency. During its fifth hearing before the Senate Financial Institutions and Technology Committee, the bill was amended to remove the funding for the grant program created by the bill for fiscal years 2022-2023. The bill still allocates $20 million for FY 21. The additional funding, which is $170 million in FY22 and $20 million for FY23, has now been incorporated into the budget bill, Sub. HB 110. The amendment also creates a Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program Fund. After the bill was reported out of committee, it was unanimously passed by the full Senate. The League is supportive of this legislation.
·        HB 274 – Firearms. Sponsored by Rep. Upchurch (D – Cleveland) and Rep. Jarrells, D – Columbus), would restore local authority to generally regulate firearms-related conduct.
·        HB 275 – Political Subdivision. Sponsored by Rep. Lampton (R – Fairborn), would expand political subdivision joint purchasing authority to expressly include purchases for construction services.
·        HB 278 – MARCS. Sponsored by Rep. Hillyer (R – Urichsville), would make changes to laws governing the multi-agency radio communications system (MARCS).
·        HB 91 – Public Facility Partnerships. Sponsored by Rep. Patton (R – Strongsville), would authorize certain public entities to enter into public-private initiatives with a private party through a public-private agreement regarding public facilities. During its second hearing before the House Infrastructure and Rural Development Committee, proponents testified in support of the bill. The League offered joint proponent testimony with the Ohio Township Association, which you can read HERE.
·        HB 201 – Natural Gas. Sponsored by Rep. Stephens (R – Kitts Hill), would prevent local governments from limiting use of natural gas. During its fifth hearing before the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the bill was amended to clarify that the bill language does not block a municipality's right to enter into franchise agreements. The amendment also clarified that the bill does not limit a natural gas company's ability to pursue new customer and does not require companies impacted by the bill to offer free extensions of service. The bill was then reported out of committee. The League is opposed to this legislation.