BATAVIA, OH (June 15, 2023) – Clermont County broke ground today on the $18.5-million Phase 1 Filager Campus Improvements project. Monarch Construction Co. of Cincinnati was awarded the construction contract on May 31. Construction will begin this month with an estimated completion in the summer of 2024.
The project will replace outdated buildings and outdoor storage for County Engineer’s Office Highway Operations and Clermont County Fleet Maintenance. The new facilities will take the place of the existing facilities, many of which were constructed in the 1950s and 60s.
The 7-acre campus across State Route 222 from existing facilities will have total building square footage of 74,550.The project will include a highway operations building, a salt storage building, two covered equipment and material storage buildings, a fleet maintenance building and a fuel island.
“This is an investment in our future, one that will help Clermont County more efficiently and cost-effectively provide services to the citizens of our county,” said Bonnie Batchler, President, Board of County Commissioners. “In about a year from now, you’ll see a modern facility at this location that will help Clermont County provide top-quality service to our citizens.”
“I’m grateful to the commissioners for seeing the need for this project,” County Engineer Jeremy Evans said. “This will provide our dedicated and hard-working employees with a setting that will allow them to better maintain the equipment they use to maintain the county’s many roads and bridges.”
The project is being funded by the county capital fund.
A second phase would include demolition and cleanup of existing buildings and construction of office space for the Engineer’s Office, County Facilities and Clermont Transportation Connection.
BATAVIA, OH (May 31, 2023) — The Board of County Commissioners today awarded an $18.5-million bid for the first phase of a Filager Campus in Batavia that will replace outdated buildings and outdoor storage for County Engineer’s Office Highway Operations and Clermont County Fleet Maintenance.
Monarch Construction Co. of Cincinnati received the bid for the project, expected to start this month. Completion is anticipated in the summer of 2024.
The 7-acre campus across State Route 222 from existing facilities will have total building square footage of 74,550. It will include an enclosed garage for highway operations trucks, space for fleet maintenance and mechanics, a salt barn, a fuel station and covered storage.
The new building will house Highway Operations, with various sections (administration, work room, training, locker rooms, sign shop, conference rooms, storage).
The facility will include enclosed parking, maintenance and truck wash areas for 26 dump trucks, which are valued at about $225,000 each. On the current campus, many are exposed to the elements. This can cause wear-and-tear and situations such as salt freezing in the beds of dump trucks during winter weather.
Salt storage will be expanded to 6,000 tons, up from 4,000 at the current site. (Clermont County uses about 6,000 to 6,500 tons of road salt each winter.) Other items such as straw and guard rails will be stored in covered areas, which is not now possible. A double-sided fueling station will be added, improving efficiency.
The existing 6-acre, 40,300-quare-foot campus includes: highway ops/sign shed (opened 1958), fleet maintenance (1958), equipment and material storage (1960’s), truck barns (1968 and 1988), facilities/CTC (1974), salt barn (1986), highway mechanic (1996), fueling station (1989), CTC bus lot (2011). The salt barn is a wooden structure.
Commissioners authorized a Request for Qualifications (RFQs) for the project on June 30, 2021. Eight RFQs were received and reviewed. On Dec. 6, 2021, the board authorized a contract with Garmann Miller, a design firm. Construction drawings were submitted to Permit Central on Sept. 30, 2022.
A second phase would include demolition and cleanup of existing buildings and construction of office space for the Engineer’s Office, County Facilities and Clermont Transportation Connection.
County Engineer Jeremy Evans thanked the Board of County Commissioners for recognizing the need.
BATAVIA, OH (May 19, 2023) – The Board Clermont County Board of Commissioners and Clermont Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) today announced plans for a Veteran’s Village in Clermont County to address gaps in housing and services for veterans.
“We know of no other facility like this in the area,” said Bonnie Batchler, President, Board of County Commissioners. “We hope this will serve as an example for others around the county.”
The facility is to include 28 cottages/houses and a community center offering wrap-around services from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) for county veterans who are homeless or living in substandard housing. There will be 22 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units for individuals and families. They will range from 700 to 1,100 square feet. They will be fully furnished, with a washer/dryer, broadband access, patio areas and parking spots.
A community center will provide on-site clinical services to individuals who need them, on-site management to address issues that arise, a large gathering space, kitchenette and computer/media area.
Some units will be subsidized, depending on income. Others will be based on a fair market rent.
Plans call for the village to open in Franklin Township/Felicity in the spring of 2025.
On May 17, the Board of County Commissioners gave their support to a proposed Veteran’s Village in Felicity or Franklin Township, reserving $1 million in federal HUD HOME funds for the $4-million project. Commissioners also expressed the board’s support for a Clermont Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) request for $400,000 from the 2024-2025 State of Ohio Budget for the project.
In Clermont County alone, there are 12,000 veterans, with more than 900 facing significant housing instability. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that veterans account for more than eight percent of all adults experiencing homelessness throughout the country.
There simply isn’t enough affordable housing – and, besides high costs, veterans can face barriers such as drug and alcohol history, PTSD and inconsistent rental history. That’s on top of normal barriers to low-income families such as higher rents, a limited landlord pool, and inability to get utilities, transportation and deposits.
Plans are being made to address these barriers. The Clermont County Veteran’s Administration has agreed to provide van services to veterans. Twenty-five percent of the units will be wheelchair accessible. Veterans will have the support of nearby VFW membership.
While the CMHA has an allotment of 40 HUD-VASH vouchers to offer veterans, it has been a struggle to fully utilize them. Nationwide the number of landlords willing to participate in the Housing Choice Voucher (HHCV) program is dwindling, and the number of landlords willing to accept an individual with a poor police background check or without consistent rental history is nearly impossible.
CMHA Executive Director Alicia Morlatt said plans originated from the mutual frustration shared by staff of the Veteran’s Administration and CMHA.
“Our veterans have served us,” Batchler said. “Now, it’s our turn to serve them.”
BATAVIA, OH (May 15, 2023) — A six-month internship with the Clermont County Public Defender’s Office helped 37-year-old Jill Constable Greene chart a course beyond her wildest dreams.
The experience spurred the recent Cincinnati State Technical and Community College graduate to decide to become an attorney, who helps others with backgrounds similar to hers.
“Interning has opened my heart and mind to my career choice,” Greene wrote in a reflection about the experience. “My true desire in life is to be an attorney. I mean that is really shooting for the moon, yet here I am still.”
Greene’s past includes barely completing ninth grade and having two children at age 19. She went a decade knowing nothing outside of addiction. Her first arrest, a felony possession charge, came in 2010. Child Protective Services took her children.
Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she used her six-month jail sentence as an opportunity to study toward a GED. However, after getting out of jail, her struggles continued, with relapses, criminal charges, and unhealthy relationships.
Finally, in 2015, after serving more time, she entered inpatient treatment, then sober living. She got back a job, which she has held for eight years.
Greene started GED classes at Gateway Community College. She took math classes for six weeks at a time. After the first six weeks, she tested and failed math. She was working six days a week second shift.
“Classes from 8-12 were a nightmare for me,” Greene said. “I failed, enrolled for another six weeks, failed, signed up again, got a tutor, and finally a year later got my GED at 35 years old. It took years for me to get there, but it was possible because I maintained my sobriety with the help of the accountability of drug court.”
In January 2021, she enrolled at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and Hondros College of Real Estate, taking online courses from both. She obtained her Peer Recovery Certificate and real estate degree.
Greene was nominated to be the woman’s coordinator for Greater Cincinnati Hospitals and Institutions. She carried her message of hope to facilities such as First Step Home, the Center for Addiction Services, River City, Talbot House, Off the Streets, CASC and jails. She became a licensed realtor and obtained her Chemical Dependency Counsel Assistant Degree, graduating with a 3.3 GPA.
She got married and received custody of her daughters and the rights back to her sons.
Clermont County Public Defender’s Office Social Worker Nicci Warr said Greene wanted experience in the field to break up her class work. “Her professor recommended she reach out to our social work department,” Warr said. “Jill and I discussed the program and if the internship was something she wanted to do.”
Social workers were added to the Public Defender’s Office on March 15, 2022. There are two social workers as of this time. They help the client navigate a very complex criminal justice system. The clients are referred from various sources, mainly the public defender attorneys, Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services, treatment programs, sheriffs and others.
“Our social workers refer clients to treatment programs, connect to services, refer for evaluations, secure releases of information; interview the client to gather their social history, reach out to relatives to assist with transportation to court, community service or treatment,” Warr said. “Also, the social work department is developing collaboration with our community partners, for example, Metropolitan Housing or Clermont County Community Services.”
The Public Defender’s Office has had two interns, one from Northern Kentucky University and one from Cincinnati State. They are expecting an intern to start in the fall from the University of Cincinnati. The interns will do their field placement for the entire semester, working 16-20 hours per week.
Interns gain valuable experience first learning the criminal justice process. They observe court proceedings from arraignments, to plea or trial settings and sentencing. They work directly with the client to make referrals to treatment programs and services. They will discuss family dynamics/history and assist in writing a social history. They work in developing a judicial release plan for clients who have requested the assistance of the Public Defender’s Office.
“What impressed me about Jill was her desire to touch the lives of our clients,” Warr said. “Jill was eager to learn the process, set up services, and remove barriers so our clients could experience success. Also, Jill was willing to share her experience with the client and reassure the person if he or she works hard, he or she can overcome his or her trouble.”
Warr believes Greene will positively impact many lives in our county. Clermont County Public Defender’s Office was proud to have her be a part of its team for the semester
“I obtained hope, motivation, and inspiration from so many,” Greene said. “Talk about the beauty in life, the opportunities I have had, the strength and courage. The obstacles, the barriers, and the doubt. I hope that one day this experience for me, changes someone’s life. We are all here to learn, then, we teach.”
BATAVIA, OH (April 26, 2023) — Elevated water storage tanks in Afton and Goshen are slated for repainting this spring and summer as Clermont County Water Resources begins a decade-long refresh of 18 water tanks.
American Suncraft Co. of Medway, Ohio, has been awarded a $1.16-million bid for work on the towers, located on Half Acre Road near Milacron in Afton and on Goshen Road near Goshen High School.
Work on the Goshen tower is expected to begin after the Afton tower. Work is anticipated to take two months at each tank. Bid opening for rehabilitation and repainting of the Summit tank took place on March 16. Work at the Summit tank is scheduled to be completed in 2023 also.
The towers will have a blue underside and top, with the county logo on two faces, along with lettering spelling Clermont County and the name of the township. The name Clermont County will also be printed on the top.
The Board of County Commissioners last year selected the design from options presented by artist Keith Konya of West Chester, who has experience with towers in Butler County.
Water Resources Project Manager Ainsley Knapke said the classic look will be uniform across the county. The aesthetically pleasing design will help build a positive brand for Clermont County.
Individual water tanks are repainted roughly every 20 years, so repainting the tanks with the new design will be a process over the next several years, running through about 2034.
Most of the project’s cost goes toward repairing portions of the metal structure (ladders, platforms, etc.) and applying coating. Interior areas normally wet will receive a zinc epoxy and an epoxy will go on dry interior areas. Exteriors of the tanks will receive a zinc epoxy urethane coating system.
Workers will sand blast off existing paint, with dust containment enclosures in place. County logo and text will be painted on the exterior of the tanks, using stencils.
BATAVIA, OH (April 20, 2023) — The Board of County Commissioners executed a contract on April 19 to award $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for critical home repairs in Clermont County.
Income-eligible homeowners will be able to receive assistance with emergency repairs such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC, or roof leaks through this partnership with People Working Cooperatively (PWC). (Income limits are up to 50 percent of the area median income, so for a family of four this is $47,750 or less.)
PWC is a nonprofit that provides professional, critical home repair, weatherization and accessibility modification services for low-income homeowners throughout 20 counties in the Greater Cincinnati area.
To learn more about People Working Cooperatively (PWC), the home repair program, and who is eligible for services, visit pwchomerepairs.org or call (513) 351-7921.
This program continues the board’s commitment to assist low-income homeowners in Clermont County using CDBG funds.
Other CDBG-funded programs include Clermont Senior Services home repair programs to keep seniors safely in their homes as well as the Septic Rehabilitation Program administered by the Clermont County Health Department.
The Board of Commissioners receives CDBG funds each year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist local communities and non-profit agencies with programs and projects serving low and moderate-income areas.
Funds are administered through the Clermont County Department of Community and Economic Development.
BATAVIA, OH (April 19, 2023) — The Clermont County Community Alternative Sentencing Center (CASC) continues to help people with substance use disorders begin a new start.
More than nine of 10 clients who completed the CASC program in 2022 were not incarcerated again, the Board of County Commissioners learned today.
Heather Cokl, associate vice president of addiction services, Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services (GCB), and Sarah Baldridge, CASC program manager, told Commissioners that CASC admitted 164 clients in 2022. Nine of 10 males and 87 percent of females completed the program.
CASC serves community members who are struggling with substance use disorders and are connected to the Clermont County Municipal Court system. The program is located on the same campus as the Clermont County Jail facility. It collaborates with Clermont Municipal Probation.
CASC offers substance use disorder treatment services such as intensive group counseling, educational/skill development groups, individual counseling and case management. The program includes medication-assisted treatment, psychiatric services, nursing, employment services, peer recovery supports and community supports.
Since 2015, GCB has served 1,547 clients in the CASC program.
“When you go to jail, you come out and you are still an addict because jail doesn’t teach you anything, but a program like this does give them the opportunity to make a difference in their life and come out a different person,” Commissioner Bonnie Batchler said.
Commissioners viewed a video of CASC clients sharing what the program means to them. Starts at 23:05: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kB-h6DOuuk
“Thanks for working so hard to try to give individuals another chance,” Commissioner David Painter said to representatives from CASC.
“Great work,” Commissioner Claire Corcoran said. “Thank you all.”
BATAVIA, OH (April 11, 2023) — Clermont County Commissioners invite the public to celebrate the National Day of Prayer on the steps of the Clermont County Common Pleas Courthouse on Thursday, May 4. The Courthouse is located at 270 E. Main St., Batavia. Bible readings will start at 11:30 a.m.
There will be a brunch for local clergy and Clermont County elected officials at 11 a.m. at the Batavia Armory.
At noon at the Courthouse, Commissioner David Painter will welcome attendees. There will be prayers from various clergy members and elected officeholders. The program includes the singing of God Bless America and the playing of Taps.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May. Congress passed a law formalizing the observance in 1952. Clermont County elected officials have celebrated the National Day of Prayer for more than 25 years.
BATAVIA, OH (April 10, 2023) –The Board of County Commissioners has designated April 9-15 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.
Clermont County Public Safety Services’ 911 Communication Center answers about 140,000 phone calls per year. Out of that, about 54,000 are 911 calls and 86,000 are non-emergency calls. The center enters about 88,000 police details a year and around 22,000 Fire/EMS details per year. The calls can be anything from a house on fire, a robbery, animal complaint or noise complaint. Each call is different. The busiest day of the week is usually Friday.
The center has three to four dispatchers on per shift, including at least one supervisor. The dispatchers work 12-hour shifts.
“We have almost 170 years of experience between all of our dispatchers,” said Jessica Wiederhold, Director, Clermont County Department of Public Safety. “A lot of our dispatchers are also putting in a lot of overtime due to the low staffing level, but they still come to work and put forth all the effort they can give. They sacrifice a lot for our community and work so great alongside the other first responders in our area. It really does take a team to keep everyone (police, firemen, EMTs, and citizens) safe, and we have a great team here. Dispatchers are sometimes the ‘forgotten’ first responders. Dispatchers are taking calls from loved ones who have lost a beloved family member, and residents who have been through a catastrophic weather event. They do this all, while keeping up with the State required mandates of answering 90 percent of 911 calls within 10 seconds or less.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the dispatchers here at Clermont County Department of Public Safety Services. Thank you all who support us.”
Emergency Resource Supervisors
Sandy Snyder – 22 years
Jason Noonan – 19 years
Melissa Pollard – 15 years
Aaron Daulton – 5 years
Emergency Resource Technicians
Tonja Stahl –16 years
Jeanine Maxwell – 16 years
Sean Harmon – 16 years
Heather Goslin – 11 years
Amanda Goldbach – 11 years
Jonathan Gordon – 11 years
Jessie Bocks – 8 years
Markie Planck – 7 years
Stacey Davidson – 5 years
Kimberly Bray – 4 years
Johnathan Weinstein – 4 years
Leiah Niederhelman – 7 months
Interview with Jessica Wiederhold, Director, Clermont County Department of Public Safety
What are the qualifications to be a dispatcher?
The qualifications to be a dispatcher include having a high school education, no criminal convictions. The ability to type and multitask is the biggest requirement. Each candidate that applies must go through a “CritiCall” test. This test tests applicants on their ability to listen to information and transcribe it all while multitasking and picking appropriate responses to “emergencies.” We provide all in-house training once someone is hired.
What type of work did the dispatchers do before they started here?
The dispatchers we currently have, have come from a variety of backgrounds. Some came from fast food restaurants, gyms, vets office, and a few from other dispatch agencies. However, most haven’t had prior experience in a 911 center before.
How do dispatchers manage their stress? This had got to be a high-stress job at times.
Dispatching is a very stressful job, especially with our current low staffing. Unfortunately, while on duty, dispatchers aren’t able to get much of a break from it. Even when they can get out for a break, they know that they could possibly be called in from their break if it gets busy in the dispatch center. We have started to invite “Pet Partners of Greater Cincinnati” to bring in their support dogs to stop in and occasionally visit. The dispatchers have been very happy with this! Outside of dispatch, some dispatchers say that they workout, listen to music, hug/spend time with their families and pets.
How many jobs are open? Where can people apply?
We currently have seven open positions. We have a couple applicants close to being hired but will still have plenty of open positions. If interested our job listing is posted on the County’s website under “Emergency Resource Technician.” https://clermontauditor.munisselfservice.com//EmploymentOpportunities/JobDetail.aspx?req=58&sreq=53&form=BCC2&desc=EMERGENCY%20RESOURCE%20TECHNICIAN
BATAVIA, OH (April 4, 2023) — Starting April 1, hours at the Clermont County Animal Shelter were expanded to better serve the public:
Sunday-11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
We hope this helps to get more dogs adopted while providing more convenience to our citizens. As always, special appointments can be made in advance outside of those hours to help facilitate an adoption. Call 513-732-8854.