April 23, 2018

Commissioners add special session to gather public input on proposed fee increase

BATAVIA, Ohio (April 23, 2018) – In addition to public hearings already scheduled, Clermont County Commissioners will hold a special session in the southern portion of the county on the proposed $5 increase in the annual motor vehicle registration fee. The special session will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 14, at the New Richmond Schools Board of Education Office, 212 N. Market Street, New Richmond.

Commissioners had previously scheduled two public hearings on the matter in the northern and central parts of Clermont County. Those hearings will be held at:

7 p.m. May 9, Miami Township Civic Center, 6101 Meijer Drive, Milford

7 p.m. May 15, Batavia Armory Town Hall, 65 N. Second St., Batavia

Both the special session and public hearings will be used to hear public comment about the proposed increase. “We wanted to ensure that residents from all parts of the county could travel a convenient distance if they wanted to speak on the matter,” said Board of Commissioners President Ed Humphrey.

County residents can also mail or email letters to support or oppose the proposed fee to the Board of County Commissioners, Proposed Registration Fee, 101 East Main St., Batavia OH 45103. Email can be sent to chutchins@clermontcountyohio.gov with Proposed Registration Fee in the subject line.

Under the State Transportation Bill (House Bill 26), which took effect on June 30, 2017, counties are permitted to place an additional $5 license fee on vehicle registration fees. Commissioners must authorize the additional fee.

The revenues raised by this increased fee would be used by the Office of the County Engineer to repair and repave county roads and bridges.

In Ohio, county engineers’ offices are funded through the Ohio gas tax (28 cents per gallon distributed equally among 88 counties), and vehicle registration fees. In 2017, the Clermont office received $7.2 million in registration fees and $2.3 million in gas tax revenues. That revenue funds the repairing and repaving of county-maintained roads and bridges.

County Engineer Pat Manger, in a presentation to Commissioners on March 12, noted that revenue from those two sources has remained essentially flat since 2007. Yet the cost of asphalt has doubled in that time, Manger said, from $57.75 per cubic yard to $132 per cubic yard.

The additional $5 fee would generate approximately $1 million annually, Manger said. All additional revenue would be used to fund the county Road & Bridge Improvement Program.

He also noted that at current revenue levels, the average paving cycle for each county road is 38 years, while the industry standard is 10-12 years. The additional revenue would help close the gap, he said.

“We have a significant challenge to address in fixing our local roads,” Manger told Commissioners. “Expenses continue to increase and we do not have the resources to ensure the level of maintenance our residents expect. This is just one step in the right direction. An increase is absolutely necessary.”

If Commissioners approve the fee, it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

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