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March 2, 2018.

OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE

Here are the top three things you need to know from this past week:

  • In addition to the $514 million being allocated for local infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and water systems through the Public Works Commission, the Capital Budget Bill will dedicate $222 million for infrastructure to support programs for opioid addition treatment, doubling the amount dedicated to combat the crisis in the last Capital Budget Bill. You can read more about the allocations within the current Capital Budget Bill below.

  • The Bureau of Workers' Compensation has announced it will drop premiums for private employers by roughly 12% on July 1 - a change that is projected to save private employers $163.5 million.

  • Governor Kasich's last State of the State address is taking place next week on Tuesday, March 6th, at Otterbein University in his hometown, Westerville.
 
SAMPLE ORDINANCE LANGUAGE AVAILABLE FOR HB 49 CENTRALIZED COLLECTION COMPLIANCE

As we covered in last week's bulletin, Judge David Cain of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court ruled against municipalities and in favor of the state in the lawsuit challenging the centralized collection of municipal net profits by the state, as made law in HB 49, the state operating budget bill. The municipalities involved in the lawsuit appealed the ruling this week, filing in the 10 th District Court of Appeals. Appeals, however, are lengthy processes, and many municipalities are looking to adopt ordinance language that would ensure they are compliant with the changes made in HB 49 during the ongoing legal proceedings.

For those looking for sample ordinance language, the legal offices of Frost Brown & Todd, who represent over 160 municipalities who filed the lawsuit, have compiled some language, which you can access HERE. We will continue to track how the lawsuit's appeal progresses and update our members accordingly.

 
CAPITAL BUDGET BILL INTRODUCED

The Capital Budget Bill for Fiscal Years 2019-2020 was introduced this week in both chambers - HB 529 in the House and SB 266 in the Senate. The bill is set to spend a total of $2.63 billion in capital appropriations, funding both state and local projects. Statewide spending includes higher education projects, local school district construction and renovation, the Public Works Commission and the Clean Ohio Program, and include the following agency appropriations: the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the Department of Administrative Services, and the Department of Natural Resources. The bill also includes spending for state technological projects, as well as re-appropriations to keep existing projects funded and on schedule.

Most importantly for municipalities, local projects throughout the state have been selected for funding through a process started several months ago, where representatives from local communities worked together with various departments and their state legislators to vie that their projects be selected to receive Capital Budget Bill funding. Among the projects selected are local jails, parks, recreation and conservation projects, mental health and drug treatment facilities, agricultural projects, and historical and cultural facility improvements.

For municipal leaders interested to see if any of their local projects were approved or funding in the Capital Budget Bill, please click HERE. For a detailed list of how much state agencies will be receiving in appropriations and re-appropriations, you can read Budget Director Tim Keen's testimony HERE. The League will continue to monitor and report on the bills as they move through the legislative process.


OML EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TESTIFIES IN SUPPORT OF TAX CREDIT FOR MIXED-USE BUILDING DEVELOPMENT

"Placemaking" was the topic of the last Legislative Breakfast hosted by the Ohio Municipal League. Presenters from the Heritage Ohio and the Greater Ohio Policy Center explained the concept of creating places that attract a young workforce by creating downtown spaces that offer walkability and access to local amenities. The importance of placemaking is driven by the fact that, unlike previous generations, the millennial workforce doesn't choose to locate based on where the jobs are. Now, the jobs follow the millennials - making it crucial for municipalities to create downtown "places" where millennials can work, live and play.

HB 469 is a bill that understands the unique role downtown revitalization now plays in job creation and economic development. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton) and Rep. Patton (R - Strongsville), allows for a tax credit for insurance companies for contributing capital to the development of mixed-use buildings, which typically house offices or retail spaces on the first levels with residential spaces on the upper levels. The buildings must meet certain criteria, including a price tag of $400 million or more and a structure of 20 stories.

On Tuesday, OML's Executive Director, Kent Scarrett, testified along with other proponents in support of the bill, lauding it as a compliment to the Historic Tax Credit in revitalizing municipal downtowns across the state. During his testimony, Dir. Scarrett also supported expanding the bill to create a "tiered" funding system in which further criteria could be created to allow smaller and mid-sized cities to qualify for tax credits for mixed-use buildings that don't match the current size or cost outlined within the bill. You can read Dir. Scarrett's full testimony HERE. League staff will continue to track and report on the bill's progress through the legislature.

 
FLOOR ACTION FOR BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST

Two bills that would benefit municipalities were passed by the full House of Representatives this week. The first was HB 415, sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), which was voted out with a majority of 81-15. It creates the Local Government Road Improvement Fund out of half of any general revenue fund surplus. The second was HB 422, sponsored by Rep. Ginter (R - Salem) and Rep. Rogers (D - Mentor-on-the-Lake), which allows municipalities to lease or sell their wastewater or sewage-treatment systems to utility companies. It too passed by a majority of 94-1.

The League is strong supporters of both bills, and submitted proponent testimony previously shared through past legislative bulletins and available on our website. We believe both bills represent a victory for municipalities, by recognizing the need for greater support of local infrastructure through more opportunities for state revenues to be invested into local roads and by allowing municipalities the local control they need to judge how best to manage their own wastewater and sewage-treatment infrastructure. We hope to see the Senate act quickly to move these bills through the legislative process before the end of this year, and will continue to report on both bills as they progress though the next phase of committee hearings. We encourage our members to contact their senator and share with them the benefits both measures would provide.
 
 
BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST: COMMITTEE RECAP

Here are the bills with potential impact to municipalities that received committee hearings this week:

  • HB 488 - PROPERTY TAX BALLOT LANGUAGE. Sponsored by Rep. Hood (R - Ashville) and Rep. Becker (R - Union Township), this bill would modify the information conveyed in election notices and ballot language for property tax levies. The legislation requires county auditors to express the certified average annual property tax levy in only dollars. Current law expresses the levy in either dollars or cents for each one hundred dollars. Current law also uses tax valuation to express the amount, but the bill changes that to fair market value. It also changes the expression to mills for each one dollar of taxable value instead of one dollar of tax valuation. To read a more detailed explanation of what is entailed in the bill, a memo providing bullet points is attached HERE. During its first hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, both the sponsors of the bill and proponents testified explaining the legislation's intent to clarify tax levy ballot language to make it easier for voters to understand exactly what a levy will do. We are currently evaluating our position on this bill.
 
  • SB 195 - DOGS LAW. Sponsored by Sen. Beagle (R - Tipp City) and Sen. Lehner (R - Kettering), this bill would revise provisions of the Dogs Law governing nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs, revise enforcement of that Law, and establish a notification process regarding complaints of certain violations of that Law. During its third hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill was amended to remove dog warden and vet techs from making determinations about euthanatizing dogs and to require notification of an investigation. Testimony was offered by the Humane Society, the Northwest Ohio Dog Wardens and Animal Control Officers' Association, and the Cleveland Animal Protective League either as supporters or as interested party. The League is also supportive of this bill.
 
  • HB 378 - BROADBAND GRANTS. Sponsored by Rep. Smith (R - Bidwell) and Rep. Cera (D - Bellaire), this bill would create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program and make an appropriation. During its fifth hearing before the House Finance Committee, a substitute bill was adopted that allows challenges to grant awards, outlines experience and capability requirements for applicants demonstrating their ability to connect broadband and create a business plan, and allows satellite internet companies to apply for the grants as well. During its sixth hearing, no testimony was offered. The League is supportive of the bill as well as the newly-adopted substitute bill.  
 
  • HB 382 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION LAW. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton), would modify terms describing payments made under the Unemployment Compensation Law, increase the amount of wages subject to unemployment compensation premiums, require qualifying employees to make payments to the Unemployment Compensation Insurance Fund, allow the Director of Job and Family Services to adjust maximum weekly benefit amounts, reduce the maximum number of benefit weeks, and make other changes to the Unemployment Compensation Law. No testimony was heard during its fifteenth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HJR 4 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BONDS. Also sponsored by Rep. Schuring (R - Canton), this joint resolution would enact Section 2t of Article VIII of the Constitution of the State of Ohio to allow the General Assembly to provide by law for the issuance of bonds to pay unemployment compensation benefits when the fund created for that purpose is or will be depleted or to repay outstanding advances made by the federal government to the unemployment compensation program. No testimony was heard during its fifteenth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee. The League is neutral on this resolution.
 
  • HB 342 - TAX LEVIES. Sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township), this bill would permit local tax-related proposals to appear only on general and primary election ballots and not on an August special election ballot and to modify the information conveyed in election notices and ballot language for property tax levies. During its fourth hearing before the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, a technical amendment was adopted that does not change the content of the bill. The League is opposed to this legislation.
 
  • HB 263 - DOGS ON PATIOS. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Lanese (R - Grove City), would generally allow an owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog to take the dog in an outdoor dining area of a retail food establishment or food service operation. During its sixth hearing before the House Economic Development, Commerce and Labor Committee, the bill was voted out of committee 10-4. The League is opposed to this bill as it preempts local health ordinances.
 
  • HB 484 - HEALTH DISTRICTS. Sponsored by Rep. Brenner (R - Powell), this bill would authorize city and general health districts to use credit cards in accordance with prescribed requirements. During its first hearing before the House State and Local Government Committee, the bill's sponsor gave an example as to when a particular health district would have benefitted from having a credit card when they needed to make a large emergency purchase. Rep. Brenner also explained that while municipalities could pass language authorizing credit card use for municipal health districts, counties did not have that option. The League is neutral on this legislation.
 
  • HB 168 - CEMETERY REGISTRATION. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Stein (R - Norwalk), would modify duties of the Division of Real Estate in the Department of Commerce regarding cemetery registration, to specify cemetery owners must reasonably maintain cemeteries, to establish the Cemetery Grant Program, and to make an appropriation. During its fourth hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, this bill was voted unanimously out of committee. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 251 - BOND MATURATION. Sponsored by Rep. Greenspan (R - Westlake), increase from five to ten years the maturity period of other political subdivision's bonds and obligations eligible for investment of a subdivision's interim moneys, a county's inactive moneys, and money in the county public library fund. During its fourth hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, this bill was voted unanimously out of committee. The League is supportive of this legislation.
 
  • HB 226 - FIREWORKS. Sponsored by Rep. Seitz (R - Cincinnati) and Rep. Sweeney (D - Cleveland), this bill would establish a fireworks study group to review and make recommendations regarding the Fireworks Law; extend to July 1, 2020, the moratorium on issuing fireworks manufacturer and wholesaler licenses; eliminate, beginning January 1, 2021, the moratorium on geographic transfer of fireworks manufacturer and wholesaler licenses; and, beginning July 1, 2020, impose a fee on the retail sale of consumer grade fireworks in this state and expand the ability of individuals to obtain 1.3G display fireworks and obtain and use 1.4G consumer fireworks. During its second hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, testimony was offered by representatives from companies that sell fireworks supporting the legislation but opposing an amendment that designates "tube sparklers" or "fountains" from the definition of fireworks. The League is supportive of this bill.
 
  • SB 239 - REGIONAL COUNCILS OF GOVERNMENT. Sponsored by Rep. Dolan (R - Chagrin Falls) this bill would modify the law concerning regional councils of governments. During its third hearing before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, no testimony was offered. The League is supportive of this bill.
 
  • HB 371 - PROPERTY TAX. Sponsored by Rep. Merrin (R - Monclova Township), this bill would exempt from property taxation the increased value of land subdivided for residential development until construction commences or the land is sold. It was slated to be heard on the full House floor this year, but ended up being informally passed and re-referred back to the Rules and Reference Committee. The League is opposed to this bill.
 
NEW BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST INTRODUCED THIS WEEK
  • SB 268 - THEFT IN OFFICE. Sponsored by Sen. Wilson (R - Maineville), this bill would expand the increased penalties for theft in office based on the amount of property or services stolen and to include as restitution certain audit costs of the entity that suffered the loss involved in the offense.
 
  • SB 269 - ROAD MAINTENANCE. Sponsored by Sen. Yuko (D - Richmond Heights), this bill would make supplemental appropriations in order to provide political subdivisions with funding for road maintenance repairs.
 
 
PARTNER OF OML AND MAYORS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES HEALTH UPDATE
 
John V. Lund, a valued partner with OML and the Mayors Association for the past forty years, recently shared with the League his regrettable diagnosis of ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Lund is a retired professional engineer and past Vice President with CTI Engineers, Inc. of Akron, Ohio and has assisted Ohio municipalities with water management issues for the past 20 years. Lund announced this week that while he will remain a consultant with CTI Engineers, he is pleased that Richard Reed will become the Corporate President and CEO of CTI, while David Kohlmeier will become the Akron Branch Manager and Corporate Secretary. The League will be keeping John and his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.



COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 4, 2018
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
SENATE PUBLIC UTILITIES
Tue., Mar. 6, 2018, 9:30 AM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Beagle: 614-466-6247
 
SMALL CELL WIRELESS (SMITH R, LaTourette) Modify law regarding wireless service  
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
 
HOUSE FINANCE
Tue., Mar. 6, 2018, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 313
Rep. Smith: 614-466-1366
 
CAPITAL APPROPRIATIONS (RYAN S) To make capital appropriations and changes to the law governing capital projects and to make reappropriations for the biennium ending June 30,2020. 
 
Third Hearing, All Testimony, POSSIBLE VOTE
OHIO BROADBAND DEVELOPMENT (SMITH R, CERA J) To create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program and to make an appropriation. 
 
Seventh Hearing, All Testimony, AMENDMENTS/SUBSTITUTE BILL/POSSIBLE VOTE
 
SENATE FINANCE
Tue., Mar. 6, 2018, 2:30 PM, Senate Finance Hearing Room
Sen. Oelslager: 614-466-0626
 
CAPITAL BUDGET (OELSLAGER S) To make capital appropriations and changes to the law governing capital projects and to make reappropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2020. 
 
Third Hearing, Opponent Testimony
OHIO BROADBAND DEVELOPMENT GRANTS (SCHIAVONI J, EKLUND J) To create the Ohio Broadband Development Grant Program and to make an appropriation. 
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
HOUSE AGING AND LONG TERM CARE
Wed., Mar. 7, 2018, 3:30 PM, Hearing Room 122
Rep. Arndt: 614-644-6011
 
EMS WORKERS-PUBLIC SAFETY OPERS (ANTONIO N) To specify that emergency medical services workers are public safety officers under the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. 
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
 
CHECK OUR WEBSITE MONDAY FOR ANY CHANGES TO THE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE

Up Coming Meetings & Events

OML/OMAA Webinar
Beyond Sexual Harassment 
March 22, 2018
10:00 am ~ 11:00 am

Registration Information
Newly Elected Council Training Seminars
March 24th 
OCMA Winter Conference
and
ICMA Midwest Conference

March 7th ~ 9th, 2018

Ohio Municipal League

Legislative Inquires:
Kent Scarrett, Executive Director
Edward Albright, Deputy Director
Ashley Brewster, Director of Communications
Rachel Massoud, Legislative Advocate

Website/Bulletin Issues:
Zoƫ Wade, Office Manager