Wage and hour seminar at OMJ/Clermont

omj-clermontBATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 20, 2016) — OhioMeansJobs/Clermont County is hosting a free business seminar  on wage and hour issues from  8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. Tuesday, March 15, at OhioMeansJobs/Clermont, 756 Old State Route 74, Suite A, Cincinnati, OH 45245.

In “Show Me The Money!” Lee Geiger and Nick Ziepfel from Graydon Head will cover a variety of wage and hour issues that impact employers of all sizes. They’ll offer practical tips for dealing with employee classification issues and will discuss the Department of Labor’s proposed Fair Labor Standards Act regulations that will substantially alter who may be classified as an exempt employee.

The seminar is geared toward HR professionals and small business owners.

For more information or to register, call Sherri Bowling at OhioMeansJobs/Clermont County at 513-943-3734 or sherri.bowling@jfs.ohio.gov.

First-half property taxes due Feb. 12

Tax timeBATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 19, 2016) — The Clermont County Treasurer’s Office mailed approximately 46,000 first-half real estate tax bills to residents on Jan. 15. The deadline for payment, without penalty, is Feb. 12, said Treasurer J. Robert True.

Taxes can be paid by mail or in person from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Treasurer’s Office, County Administration Building, Second Floor, 101 E. Main Street, Batavia.  Taxes may also be paid by credit card or e-check at www.clermonttreasurer.org or by phone at 1-800-272-9829.

A night deposit is located at the Main Street entrance of the Administration Building for payment of taxes after hours.  Taxpayers with questions may call 513-732-7254 or email Treasurer@clermontcountyohio.gov. ######

Commissioner Proud elected president of BCC

ProudBATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 13, 2016) – Commissioner Bob Proud was elected president of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners for 2016 at the board’s Jan. 11 reorganization meeting. Commissioner David Uible was elected vice president.

Commissioner Proud is serving his seventh and final term as a commissioner. He was first sworn in as commissioner on Jan. 3, 1989, at 30 years old the youngest commissioner in the State of Ohio.

The president of the board presides at meetings during the year. Proud was also selected as the commissioners’ lead representative on the Clermont County Board of Revision and Automatic Data Processing Board.
“I look forward to serving as president of the board in 2016,” Proud said. “It especially means a lot to me as this will be my last year in office.”

When Proud took office, the county’s population stood at 145,000. Now it exceeds 200,000. “We were the fastest growing county in Ohio in 1989 in terms of percentage,” he said. “Now we’re the fifth fastest – and I’m OK with that!”

“From the beginning, we’ve governed with very sound conservative fiscal policies,” Proud said. “Not many counties have a minimum of a 25% General Fund balance, which helps us get through difficult times.
“We work hard to continue to be the place where people want to live, work and raise a family,” he added. “We are now considered an urban county, but we have our rural roots – it’s the best of both worlds.”

Commissioner Proud thanked his fellow commissioners for helping to make 2015 a strong year. Commissioner Ed Humphrey continues to recover from an automobile accident.

Proud is also serving his 25th term as chairman of the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission, which coordinates federal, state and local resources to encourage development in 12 southern Ohio counties, including Clermont.

Proud is also chairman of the Public Safety and Justice Committee of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio. He is on the board of the National Association of Development Organizations, representing 12 Midwest states. He serves on the Coalition for a Drug Free Clermont and is on the Workforce Investment Board Butler-Clermont-Warren.

Commissioners are the contracting, taxing, budgeting and appropriating authority in the county. They rule on annexations and appoint members to a variety of boards and commissions. In Ohio, commissioners elect a president and vice president every January. Commissioner Humphrey served as president in 2015. #####

Milacron tax abatements approved

MilacronBATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 12, 2016) – At their Dec. 17, 2015, session, Clermont County Commissioners approved an enterprise zone agreement that included a tax abatement for Milacron LLC, which is expanding its operations in Williamsburg Township.

In concert with Williamsburg Township trustees, Commissioners OK’d a  60 percent property tax abatement over 10 years, saving Milacron approximately $779,000.

Milacron, a leader in the plastics processing industry, is investing $6 million in its Williamsburg Township operation, including the construction of a 28,000-square-foot addition to its building plus various upgrades to increase production. The company plans to add 149 full-time positions to its current workforce of 646 within three years of completion of its construction. The new positions will add $7 million to its payroll. Milacron was also awarded job creation tax credits through JobsOhio.

“We’re pleased that Milacron decided to keep its operations in Clermont County, and expand them,” said Andy Kuchta, Director of Community and Economic Development. “They have been a long-time presence in Clermont County, and it’s great that they are committed to staying here.”

Milacron had considered moving its Southwest Ohio operations, which included sites in Oakley and Mount Orab in addition to Williamsburg Township, to Indiana. The company previously announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters from Oakley to Blue Ash.

East Fork watershed farmers can sign up for grants to help with runoff

east fork farmersOWENSVILLE, Ohio (Jan. 8, 2015) – Farmers with fields in the East Fork Lake watershed may now sign up for a second round of funding to set up conservation practices that help keep sediments and nutrients on farm fields and out of the lake. Since 2012, East Fork Lake has experienced worsening problems with harmful algal blooms thought to be caused by excess nutrients – mainly nitrogen and phosphorus – that come from agricultural fields as well as failing septic systems, wastewater treatment plants and urban runoff.

In January 2015, the Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) was awarded a five-year, $600,000 grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Resource Conservation Partnership Program to help reduce nutrient loadings through agricultural conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips, nutrient management and more.

“Farmers expressed a tremendous amount of interest during our first round of sign-ups last year.  I think this reflects their dedication to protecting our natural resources and improving conditions in East Fork Lake,” said John McManus, Administrator for Clermont SWCD. “I expect that we will again receive a large number of applications for this program.”

Lori Lenhart, District Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, said, “Under this grant, farmers can sign up for more traditional conservation practices, such as cover crops and nutrient management, as well as newer practices like edge of field monitoring and gypsum application.  Gypsum helps aggregate the soil, which allows rainwater to move into the soil better. This in turn helps reduce erosion and the runoff of sediments and phosphorus. The calcium in gypsum also binds strongly with phosphorus, reducing chances of runoff and increasing uptake by the growing crop.”

Any farmer within the East Fork Lake watershed who is interested in participating in this program should contact Lori Lenhart at 513-732-2181 ext. 102, or at lori.lenhart@oh.usda.gov.  The deadline to submit an application for funding is Friday, Feb. 19.

(Photo: Local farmer displays cover crops.)


About the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District:
Established in 1943, the district works with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and farmers to control erosion, promote water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural working lands. The district provides technical assistance, grants and cost share funding, educational programming and other resources to urban, rural and suburban landowners to help them address a diverse range of local conservation issues. For more information, visit
www.clermontswcd.org or call 513-732-7075.

Low-cost rabies vaccine clinic set for Jan. 30

petsBATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 5, 2016) – Clermont County Public Health is partnering with Dr. Gwendolyn Steffen from Henehan Animal Hospital in Milford and Clermont to the Rescue Humane Society to offer a low-cost rabies vaccination clinic. The clinic will take place 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, at Live Oaks Campus, 5956 Buckwheat Road, Milford.

“Only about 45 percent of dogs and less than 20 percent of cats in Clermont County are current on their rabies shots,” said Rob Perry, director of the environmental health division with Clermont County Public Health. “We hope to increase that number with this clinic, where pet owners can vaccinate their pets at a cost of only $5 (cash),” he said.

Animals must be in good health and must be leashed or in a carrier. A three-year vaccination can be obtained with documentation of vaccination status. Without documentation, an animal will receive a one-year vaccination. In addition to the vaccinations, Clermont to the Rescue Animal Shelter will be selling 2016 dog licenses, for $16.75 (cash or check only).

“While cases of rabies in humans and domestic animals are rare in Ohio and the U.S., the virus is present in the local wildlife population. In 2015, 20 bats and six raccoons tested positive for rabies in Ohio,” said Perry.

“We receive on average 300 animal bite reports annually. Each of those must be investigated, which involves quarantining or testing the animal that caused the bite. Keeping your pet vaccinated is vital in protecting you and your pet from this deadly disease,” Perry said. For more information about the rabies vaccination clinic, call Clermont County Public Health at 513-732-7499.

Annual Rock & Roast bike trail fundraiser set for Jan. 23

bike trailBATAVIA, Ohio  (Dec. 17, 2015) – The Williamsburg to Batavia Hike/Bike Trail committee is hosting the third annual Rock and Roast fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. The event will take place 6-9 p.m. at Williamsburg High School, 500 S. 5th Street, Williamsburg, OH 45176.

“The hike/bike trail began as a way to connect the villages of Batavia and Williamsburg by using roads that were abandoned during the construction of East Fork State Park in the 1970’s,” said Williamsburg Mayor Mary Ann Lefker, who is also a bike trail committee member. The trail is a collaborative project between several local agencies and jurisdictions. Phase I of the trail opened in 2009; when completed it will be nearly 15 miles long.

Phase III of the trail opened in October, bringing the length of the trail so far to six miles. “We are hoping to receive grant funding in 2016. The funds raised from the Rock and Roast will be used as a local match for any grants we receive,” said Julianne Nesbit, Health Commissioner for Clermont County Public Health and trail committee member. “The 2015 Rock and Roast generated over $10,000 that was used toward phase III of the trail; we hope to increase that amount in 2016,” said Nesbit.

“Our Rock and Roast is a fun way to spend what will probably be a cold January evening. Our rock will be provided by Hey! Mr. DJ Entertainment and our roast will be great food from 32Q catering. We will also have door prizes and a silent auction,” said Lefker.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $20. Tables can be sponsored for $200, with each table seating eight. To purchase tickets, or to sponsor a table, call the Village of Williamsburg at 513-724-6107.

County to begin installing upgraded water meters

new water meters

BATAVIA, Ohio (Dec. 23, 2015) – Clermont County’s Water Resources Department (WRD) will soon begin to replace customers’ water meters with meters that will allow wireless transmission of water usage data.

Beginning in January 2016, about 500 meters will be installed throughout the county, said WRD Director Lyle Bloom. The county will make sure these meters are operating correctly before beginning to install the rest of the meters.

The county will replace approximately 41,000 meters, and the project is expected to take until September 2017, Bloom said. A day or two before each meter upgrade, US Bronco Services (the installer) will notify each customer with a door hanger slip. On the day of the upgrade, the installer will attempt to notify each customer shortly before the installation begins. The installation will take about 30 minutes, with water service unavailable for 15 minutes.

Clermont County contracted with HD Supply Waterworks to provide the Advanced Metering Infrastructure System (AMI). HD Waterworks’ installer is US Bronco Services.  The project costs approximately $8 million, Bloom said.

The AMI meters will transmit water usage information wirelessly to five collector sites throughout the county, said project manager Kevin Kappers. That information is then relayed to an offsite billing and monitoring server.

The new system will allow customers to have essentially pinpoint accuracy in determining water use. If a customer’s bill reflects an unexpected spike, the department will be able to tell the customer what day and hour the spike occurred, Kappers said. The system will also be helpful in identifying leaks, he added.

Old meters, made out of bronze. New meter, a polymer

Old meters, made out of bronze. New meter, a polymer

Bloom cautioned that the initial bills may look a little high. “As meters get older, they get less accurate. The new meters will register a more accurate reading of actual water consumption,” he said.  “So people may see slightly higher bills after the new meters are installed.”

Four maintenance techs currently read meters in Clermont County. They will be reassigned, Bloom said. No rate increases are planned as a result of this upgrade, he said.

For more information, view this FAQ on the project.
For more information, contact Kevin Kappers, (513) 732-8091, kkappers@clermontcountyohio.gov.

(Graphic, above, shows how system will work; photo at right shows old and new meters.)


County offices’ holiday schedule

BATAVIA, Ohio (Dec. 22, 2015) — Clermont County offices will be closed beginning 12:30 p.m. Dec. 24 and all day Dec. 25, in observance of Christmas.

Offices will also be closed on Jan. 1, 2016, in observance of New Year’s Day.


Workshops offered on ag easement purchase program

ag easementMilford, Ohio (Dec. 18, 2015) — Farmland owners have the opportunity to learn how to apply for funds from the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program during upcoming information sessions offered by Cardinal Land Conservancy, local Soil & Water Conservation Districts and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices in four southwest Ohio locations.

Agricultural easements are voluntary legal agreements that restrict non-agricultural development on farmland, with the land itself remaining on the tax rolls and under private ownership and management. Landowners may undertake any agricultural activity permitted under Ohio law, and can sell their farm or pass it along as a gift to others. However, the easement remains with the deed to the land, prohibiting any future non-agricultural development. This is to make certain that the land remains used for agricultural purposes only.

Meetings will feature short presentations by Cardinal Land Conservancy experts, staff from Soil & Water Conservation offices, and NRCS staff.  Meeting attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss the program with presenters, who will provide information and direction to landowners.

Cardinal Land Conservancy has been designated by the Ohio Department of Agriculture as a Certified Local Sponsor for Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program in Adams, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton and Highland counties.  It is important for attendees to connect with Cardinal Land Conservancy representatives who will submit applications to the Ohio Department of Agriculture on behalf of farmland owners.

Farm owners are invited to attend Information Sessions scheduled for Jan. 2016:
• CLERMONT COUNTY  Thurs., Jan. 14 at 1:30 PM at the Clermont County Fairgrounds, 1000 Locust Street, Owensville, OH 45160 in the Agricultural Service Center;
• BROWN COUNTY  Tues., Jan. 19 at 7 PM in Georgetown, at the Brown Soil and Water Conservation District Office at 702 S. Main St., Georgetown, OH 45121;
• HAMILTON COUNTY  Thurs., Jan. 21 at 6 PM at the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District Office, 22 Triangle Park Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45246;
• CLINTON COUNTY  Wed., Jan. 27 at 6 PM at 69 N. South Street, Wilmington, OH 45177.

The next application round for the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Easement Purchase Program is tentatively scheduled to open on Jan. 15, 2016.  For more information about the program, visit Cardinal Land Conservancy’s website at www.cardinallandconservancy.org, your county Soil & Water Conservation District, or your NRCS district conservationist. Or contact the state program at www.agri.ohio.gov/farmland.  Interested parties may also contact Laura Curliss at 513-600-7171 or Larry Frimerman at 513-461-2997 of Cardinal Land Conservancy.