Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:
·        This week, the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee held a fifth hearing on Sub. HB 157, which was originally drafted to repeal Section 29 of HB 197, the temporary COVID-19 withholding provision. While the bill was originally scheduled to receive a vote in committee, a vote was not held, and Sub. HB 157 remains in the House Ways and Means Committee. Read more about the hearing in the article below. We encourage our members to continue to contact their legislative delegation and share their concerns regarding Sub. HB 157 and convey the significance of this issue. You can access the League’s sample letter HERE and sample resolution HERE
·        The Office of Budget and Management will be providing a series of webinars for local governments regarding updates about the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The first webinar will be held on Thursday, April 29 at 1:30 p.m. The webinar will discuss steps that local governments can take to prepare ahead of the U.S. Treasury guidance and in advance of the distribution of funds. The webinar will also review information regarding spending down, reporting, and monitoring of Coronavirus Relief Funds, local government eligibility for the Public Assistance program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the local government provisions in the Governor’s Executive Budget. To learn more and to register, click HERE.
·        Budget Watch: This week, the Ohio House voted to pass Sub. HB 110, the state operating budget bill. Earlier in the week, the House Finance Committee adopted another omnibus amendment with several changes impacting local governments, including $15 million for law enforcement training. You can read the full comparison document HERE. For members that would like to read the fiscal analysis, analysis or the full substitute bill language, click HERE. Read more about the municipal impact of Sub. HB 110 in the article below.
This week, the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee held a fifth hearing on Sub. HB 157, a bill which was originally drafted to repeal Section 29 of HB 197, 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 League testified in opposition to Sub. HB 157, along with representatives from the Village of Evendale and the City of Fairlawn, Keary McCarthy from the Ohio Mayors Alliance, and Allison Goebel from the Greater Ohio Policy Center.
While the substitute bill extends the sunsetting of the of Sec. 29 until December 31, 2021, the rest of the provisions in the substitute bill would be detrimental to the stability of local budgets if the bill were to become law. You can find a copy of the substitute bill HERE and the League’s opposition talking points HERE.
In testimony, League Director of Communications Ashley Ringle stated that Sec. 29 of HB 197 was unambiguous in its intention to preserve the status quo regarding withholding for municipalities and business. “A handful of lawsuits have been filed on the issue of refunds,” she said. “The League strongly believes that it is appropriate for the legal system to run its course and for the courts to decide the merits of each side of the case including the consideration of the issue of refund requests and that the legislature should not up-end the original intent of previous legislation.” You can read the testimony in full HERE.
Fairlawn Mayor Bill Roth stated in testimony that the city’s current tax policy allows Fairlawn to invest in strategic infrastructure and services attracting businesses from all over the world, making the city an economic driver for the region.
“When the pandemic hit, and the General Assembly passed HB I97, we proceeded to respond to the demand for services understanding that we would continue to have a steady revenue stream,” he said. “The language in HB 157 seeks to change that, by pulling the rug out from under our feet, retroactively after we have spent the money and the fiscal year has ended.”
Evendale Village Administrator David Elmer, on behalf of Mayor Richard Finan, stated during his testimony that the city is anticipating a 10% to 30% reducing in income due to HB 157. “This would result in either lesser services or higher taxes to meet expected service levels,” he said.
The Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) offered written interested party testimony, and written opponent testimony was submitted by representatives from the Central Collections Agency (CCA), Mayfield Village and the cities of Dublin, Parma Struthers, Chardon, Dayton, Fairview Park, Kent.
We want to thank all our members who submitted written testimony, contacted their members of the General Assembly and passed resolutions opposing Sub. HB 157. We anticipate the bill will be up for another hearing next week on Tuesday, April 27. The committee hearing notice is not released until late in the day on Friday, so we are not yet able to confirm when the committee will be held. However, the League will update our website when the committee notice is released. If our members would like to directly receive notice of future hearings on Sub. HB 157 and other bills impacting the municipal income tax that will receive hearings in the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee, you can sign up to directly receive the committee notices by emailing ways&
This week, the Ohio House voted to pass Sub. HB 110, the state operating budget bill. Earlier in the week, the House Finance Committee adopted a second omnibus amendment with several changes impacting local governments. The changes include the following:
·        Extends the temporary authorization for public bodies to meet via electronic technology until December 31, 2021.
o  Currently, this authorization expires on July 1, 2021
·        Removes language abolishing health districts in cities with a population below 50,000 and requiring that city to be represented by a board of health of a general health district that includes that city.
o  The bill now requires each city with a population below 50,000 served by a city health district to complete a study evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of merging with the general health district.
                     ·          Mandates that the Ohio State Treasurer, along with the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) establish and maintain an expenditure database for the state and local governments.
o  Participation in the expenditure database is permissive for municipalities.
In addition to the initial allocations for local law enforcement in the Governor’s as-introduced version of the bill, Sub. HB 110 now includes the following provisions regarding local police, fire and emergency management (EMS) services:
·        Allocates $15 million for a one-year police training pilot program to assist law enforcement agencies with training costs.
·        Creates a 12-member Law Enforcement Training Funding Safety Commission to study possible long-term methods for providing state aid to law enforcement agencies for training police officers. 
·        Allows municipalities to place combined polices services and emergency management services (EMS) levies on the ballot.
We want to thank the members of the Ohio House for including additional funding for training local law enforcement, the extension of the authority for public bodies to meet via electronic technology, and the other provisions investing in Ohio’s local communities. Sub. HB 110 now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration, where various subcommittees have already begun holding informal committee hearings on the bill. We will continue to update our members on the municipal impacts of the bill as it continues through the legislative process.
While Ohio cities and villages have faced uncertainties and pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic, PEP provided specialized resources to help its members navigate through these uncertain times and modified member services to provide additional assistance.
PEP+ Grant:
In order to assist members with unexpected expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PEP+ Grant, which provides an opportunity for each member to receive up to $1000 in grant funds, was expanded to include COVID-19 related expenses (i.e. personal protective equipment, disinfectants, protective gear and other items to assist with risk management efforts related to COVID-19). 
PEP Resource eLibrary:
PEP provided its members with relevant and timely risk control resources to assist members as they navigated through the uncertainty of the pandemic. Best practices, waivers, articles, assistance with grants, guidelines for reopening aquatic centers and for returning equipment to use after the shutdown, were just some of the documents added to the Resource eLibrary. Online training modules covering topics such as contact tracing, pandemic response, and return-to-work, were offered. On the human resources front, a number of federal laws were impacted by pandemic guidelines such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act; webinars, seminars, articles and best practices addressing these and other laws were made available to help guide members through these unprecedented times.
PEP Legal Access Hotline:
Every PEP member is eligible to receive up to 90 minutes of free legal consultation per year. PEP members may now obtain free legal advice on employment or human resources issues related to the pandemic and/or return to work. Please visit for details.
The Ohio Association of Public Safety Directors (OAPSD) Annual Conference will take place on Friday, May 7, 2021, at the Old Ohio State Reformatory (of Shawshank Redemption fame). Ohio Auditor Dave Yost will be giving the keynote address.
The OAPSD encourages all municipal public safety directors from around the state to attend this one-day event for valuable public safety education, updates on law-enforcement practices and networking. Non-members of the OAPSD can attend at a $50 charge, lunch included. For more information, please email OAPSD Executive Director Thomas Wetmore at We hope to see you there!
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and its partners are assessing needs facing U.S. and Canadian local and tribal governments on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River related to coastal management and resilience to impacts such as erosion from changing water levels, flooding, and severe storm events.
To assess these needs, the initiative and its partners are conducting a survey intended for both elected officials and staff in local units of government with authority for coastal areas along the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River in the United States and Canada. The survey results will guide efforts to help communities safeguard resources in coastal areas.
For more information and to begin the survey, click HERE. The deadline for the survey is Friday, April 30.

What does the latest technology from Verizon mean for your community? When it comes to public safety, citizen engagement, smart communities and municipal revenue generation, Verizon has leveraged technology to enhance and improve communication, local transparency and how cities operate to ensure quality of life for their residents. By focusing on the basic wants and needs of the people within a community, Verizon continues to use the latest technology to help communities become safer, more engaged and more efficient.
To help our members learn more about how Verizon can improve and enhance their communities, the League will be hosting a webinar on May 19 at 11 a.m. To learn more and to register, click HERE
·        As of Thursday afternoon, Ohio is reporting 1,060,119 cases of coronavirus, 19,033 resident deaths, 55,446 hospitalizations and 7,697 ICU admissions.
·        On April 12, Governor DeWine’s office announced a shift in direction for the ongoing COVID-19 Vaccination Program. The program now allows enrolled vaccine providers to partner with businesses and organizations to conduct on-site vaccination clinics, making it easy and convenient for all employees or members of the organization to be vaccinated.
o  This week, the League participated in a meeting with other local government organizations for an update on this new direction in targeting local businesses and organizations. The Governor’s office provided PowerPoint presentation slides that contain helpful resources on how to set up a vaccine clinic, such as employer and organization guidance and a list of provider partners. You can access those slides HERE and visit the official website HERE.
Vaccinations and Virus Spread:
  • As of Wednesday, 38 percent of Ohioans have received at least one coronavirus vaccination shot.
  • Although cases have plateaued, virus variants are more contagious among those who have not been vaccinated.
  • Dr. Vanderhoff also warned that Ohioans should not count on herd immunity until more people are vaccinated.
  • The vaccine is now more widely available and there is no shortage. Ohioans can visit to look for open appointments or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to book an appointment over the phone.
  • Ohio's mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland is also now booking appointments for next week.
  • First doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered. Appointments for the mass vaccination clinic can be booked via the aforementioned methods.
Unemployment System Updates:
  • In an effort to continually improve Ohioans’ experiences with the Ohio Unemployment Office, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Interim Director Matt Damschroder shared several action updates.
  • The ODJFS team has been working with the Public-Private Partnership (P3 Team) to make improvements to the call center, which now has an average call handle time of less than 10 minutes (the lowest since the pandemic started).
  • There is also real progress on the claims backlog. 
  • In addition, new tools have been implemented to enhance fraud detection including additional identity verification requirements and new IT measures, such as Experian and LexisNexis technology, to verify the identity of unemployment applications.
Case Data & Vaccine Information:
·        HB 264 – Income Tax. Sponsored by Rep. Smith (D – Fairview Park) and Rep. Sobecki (D – Toledo), would modify the municipal income tax withholding rule for employees working at a temporary worksite.
  • HB 172 – Fireworks. Sponsored by Rep. Baldridge (R – Winchester), would revise the Fireworks Law. During its third hearing before the House Commerce and Labor Committee, the League offered interested party on the bill, which you can read in full HERE. The committee then adopted an amendment which included changes such as ensuring the general mortarium for issuing manufacturer and wholesalers fireworks licenses will expire on January 1, 2023. The bill was then reported out of committee.
·         HB 228 – Municipal Corporation Tax. Sponsored by Rep. Roemer (R – Richfield), would make changes related to state-administered municipal net profits taxes. During its second hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, the Ohio Society of CPAs testified in support of the bill. The testimony detailed several key provisions of the bill, including the extension of the date that a taxpayer can opt in or optout of filing net profit tax through the state to on or before April 15 after the beginning of a taxable year. The bill also requires the Tax Commissioner to notify municipalities when a taxpayer has opted in or out of filing through the state, rather than the taxpayer notifying each municipality. The League is an interested party on this legislation.
·        HB 123 – Community Reinvestment Areas. Sponsored by Rep. Fraizer (R – Newark) and Rep. Cross (R – Kenton), would modify the law governing community reinvestment areas and the terms under which property may be exempted in such areas. During its fifth hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill was reported out of committee. The League is neutral on this legislation.
·        SB 56 – Design Contracts. Sponsored by Rep. Blessing (R – Colerain Twp.), would regulate the use of indemnity provisions in professional design contracts related to public improvements. During its second hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, proponents including the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio testified in support of the bill The League is neutral on this legislation.
·        HB 201 – Natural Gas. Sponsored by Rep. Stephens (R – Kitts Hill), would prevent local governments from limiting use of natural gas. During its fourth hearing before the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, two amendments were adopted. The first clarifies that the bill’s provisions related to distribution service and retail are not intended to limit a municipality from exercising its authority over existing natural gas aggregation laws. The second amendment ensure a customer has the right to obtain propane from any seller. The League opposes this bill as a preemption against municipal Home Rule authority.