January 13, 2020

Commissioner Painter elected president of the board for 2020

BATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 13, 2020) – Commissioner David Painter was elected president, and Commissioner Ed Humphrey, vice president, of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners for 2020 at today’s annual Reorganization Meeting. Commissioner Claire Corcoran will serve as member.

The 2020 meeting schedule for Regular Sessions was also established. The commissioners are scheduled to meet every Wednesday of the year, except for certain holiday weeks, and the second and fourth Mondays of the first six months of the year.  All meetings are at 10 a.m. unless otherwise noted. Commissioners are mandated to have at least 50 Regular Sessions during the calendar year.

Commissioner Painter described 2019 as a great year for Clermont County, with booming economic development, improved roads and the securing of financing for work on State Route 32. Commissioner Corcoran expressed hope for a safer and more gentle year across the county in 2020, with Commissioner Humphrey concurring.

The Reorganization Meeting was followed by Regular Session at which the following 2020 appointments were made:

Commissioner Painter to serve on the Area 12 Workforce Board as a chief elected official, alternative official voting representative for Clermont County at the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio,

Commissioner Humphrey to serve as chairperson of the Clermont County Records Commission, member of the Clermont County Automatic Data Processing Board, official voting representative for Clermont County at the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio,

Commissioner Corcoran to serve on the Clermont County Board of Revision and as an alternate on the Area 12 Workforce Board as a chief elected official, and

All three commissioners to serve on the County Investment Advisory Committee.

###

January 13, 2020

Commissioners oppose restrictions to Second Amendment

BATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 13, 2020) – The Clermont County Board of County Commissioners today adopted a resolution declaring its opposition to any restrictions to the Second Amendment. All three commissioners, President David Painter, Vice President Ed Humphrey and member Claire Corcoran, voted for the resolution.

“We stand as a Second Amendment Sanctuary County,” said Commissioner Painter, moments after the vote, to the applause of gun rights activists in attendance.

Here is the exact wording of the resolution:

A RESOLUTION RELATING TO THE CLERMONT COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS DECLARING THE OPPOSITION OF CLERMONT COUNTY, OHIO, TO ANY RESTRICTIONS ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

WHEREAS, The Ohio Constitution: Article 1, Section 4 states that “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security”; and

WHEREAS, The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”; and

WHEREAS, The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified in 1791, and is still the Law of the Land; and

WHEREAS, Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States of America states “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding” and

WHEREAS, Article 15, Section 7 of the Ohio Constitution states: “Every person chosen or appointed to any office under this state, before entering upon the discharge of its duties, shall take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of the United States, and of this state, and also an oath of office; and

            WHEREAS, County Commissioner David L. Painter, County Commissioner Edwin H. Humphrey, and County Commissioner Claire B. Corcoran have all taken such oath and believe it to be binding on them morally, ethically, and legally; and

WHEREAS, the Clermont County Commissioners fully affirm their support of the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and stand firm against any law or ordinance on any level of government to remove that right from any law-abiding citizen without due process; and

WHEREAS, the Clermont County Commissioners will not authorize any County Official to expend County funds for the purpose of enforcing illegal and or unconstitutional laws or ordinances that seek to limit a law-abiding citizens right to keep and bear arms; and

WHEREAS, the Clermont County Board of Commissioners believe the best way to prevent gun violence is to address the growing mental health crisis, hold those accountable who use a political agenda to disarm law abiding citizens, and the enforcement of already existing criminal laws that aim to stop violence and not to limit the inalienable rights of law-abiding citizens; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of Clermont County Ohio derive economic benefit from lawful use of firearms, including hunting, recreation and shooting sports; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Board of County Commissioners of Clermont County Ohio by the authority granted the Board by the laws of the State of Ohio and the people of Clermont County, Ohio to stand and defend their rights and liberties, which are guaranteed by the United States and Ohio Constitutions, we hereby declare this Resolution to be a Second Amendment Preservation Resolution and declare Clermont County Ohio to be a “2nd Amendment Sanctuary County”; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Board does hereby pledge not to appropriate funds, resources, employees, or agencies to initiate unconstitutional seizures in Clermont County Ohio; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board demands that the state and national legislature cease and desist any further actions restricting the Second Amendment rights of citizens and instead address the real and fundamental challenges in our communities.

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of County Commissioners hereby finds and determines that all formal actions relative to the passage of this Resolution were taken in an open meeting of this Board and of its Committees, and that all deliberations of this Board and of its Committees, if any, which resulted in formal action, were taken in meetings open to the public, in full compliance with applicable legal requirements including Section 121.22 of the Ohio Revised Code.

 

###

 

December 16, 2019

Commissioners approve $71.2 million total General Fund budget for 2020

BATAVIA, Ohio (Dec. 16, 2019) – Clermont County Commissioners approved a 2020 General Fund operating budget of $61.5 million at their Dec. 11 session.  The non-operating budget of $9.7 million includes one-time expenses for capital and economic development projects within the General Fund.

The General Fund is the largest discretionary source of funds in the county, and finances 20 of 21 elected offices in Clermont County. (The Engineer’s Office is funded through state gasoline taxes and driver license fees.) Clermont County Commissioners also appropriated $199.2 million in 2020 for the other 114 special purpose funds under their budgetary control.

As required by law, 2020’s budget is balanced, with expenses not exceeding projected revenues plus unobligated cash.

Sales tax revenue, which provides nearly 47 percent of General Fund revenue, is estimated to be $30 million in 2020. The next two largest streams of revenue include charges for services ($10 million) and property taxes ($9 million)  included within the General Fund.

In 2020, General Fund program areas will be funded as follows:

Criminal justice: $26.8 million
Judicial services: $14.7million
General government: $12.3 million
Public safety: $4.5 million
Health and human services: $3.3 million

Personnel costs account for the largest share of the total General Fund budget — $49.6 million, or 70% of the budget, with $21.6 million going to other expenses.

For questions, contact the Office of Management and Budget Director Mary Rains, mrains@clermontcountyohio.gov, 513.732.7988.

November 27, 2019

FACT SHEET – Dissolution of the Village of Amelia

Nov. 26, 2019

Overview — At 10:35 a.m. Nov. 25, the Clermont County Board of Elections certified election results regarding dissolution of the Village of Amelia and the Village of Newtonsville. On Nov. 5, residents had voted to dissolve the villages. Amelia became part of Batavia Township and Pierce Township; Newtownsville, Wayne Township. The Ohio State Auditor is overseeing a transition period that will take months to complete. State law requires officials to divide property within 60 days, but sets no hard deadline for the Ohio Auditor to issue a final report on the dissolution.

The population of Amelia was 4,801 at the 2010 Census; Newtonsville, 392. Due to Amelia’s size and the fact that it existed in two townships, this fact sheet deals with its transition.

Although the villages and townships are key players in the transition, Clermont County entities assisting with the dissolution include the Prosecutor’s Office, Auditor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Engineer’s Office, and departments under the Board of County Commissioners (Public Safety, Water Resources, Building Inspection, Community and Economic Development).

Public Safety – Police and fire coverage is in place. On Nov. 25, 911 coverage was transferred to Clermont County Public Safety, which is already dispatching police and fire. The Sheriff’s Office and Pierce Township have begun law enforcement coverage of Amelia. Police vehicles and firearms have been secured. An audit of the evidence room began immediately on Nov. 25 and will continue.

Roads – Plans are underway for Pierce Township (nine miles) and Batavia Township (four miles) to assume responsibility of roads. The County Engineer’s Office takes responsibility for inspections of new streets in subdivisions and is working with ODOT on speed studies of major thoroughfares. The Clermont County Engineer’s Office will assume responsibility for portions of Chapel Road and Amelia Olive Branch (less than ½ mile total).

Water and Sewer – Water and sanitary sewer service to properties within the incorporated limits of the Village of Amelia should not be impacted.  These properties are already served by the Clermont County Water Resources Department and/or the Tate-Monroe Water Association.

Taxes – Real Estate Tax collections will continue for the village in 2020; based upon the tax lien date of January 1, 2019.

Administration — The mayor of Amelia becomes the administrator during the transition, the legal counsel for Amelia continues, and its fiscal officer stays in place.

###

August 26, 2019

County celebrates opening of new Records Center

BATAVIA, OH — Clermont County leaders today commemorated the opening of a $2.5 million, 20,000-square-foot Records Center with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and tours. The center is located off Clermont Center Drive behind the Clermont County Family Support Center, 2400 Clermont Center Drive, Batavia.

“We can all rest assured that the Records Center will allow Clermont County to securely store and preserve the records of Clermont County for generations to come,” said David Painter, President of the Board of County Commissioners.

Commissioner Ed Humphrey added: “I’m very proud of the teamwork that led to the new Records Center. As is so often the case, Clermont County recognized a need – and took action.”

“Did you know that the center’s three employees manage hundreds of thousands of electronic records?” Commissioner Claire Corcoran asked. “Yes, hundreds of thousands! They also take care of more than 11,000 boxes of paper records – and over 6,000 historical journals.”

The Records Center manages records for more than 40 county offices and departments, providing consistency to the management of county information while maintaining compliance with the Ohio Revised Code.

An old Records Center had outgrown its office on Main Street in the Village of Batavia. It housed all paper and electronic records for all departments under the Board of County Commissioners as well as other elected offices. These records are held to comply with departments’ and offices’ various retention policies and all comply with the Ohio Revised Code.

August 20, 2019

Ribbon cutting for new Records Center at 10:15 a.m. Aug. 26

BATAVIA, OH (Aug. 20, 2019) – Clermont County will celebrate the opening of its new $2.5-million, 20,000-square-foot Records Center with a ceremonial Ribbon Cutting at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 26. Tours of the facility, located off Clermont Center Drive behind the Clermont County Family Support Center, 2400 Clermont Center Drive, Batavia, will be available after the ceremony until noon.

The Records Center will allow Clermont County to securely store and preserve the records of Clermont County for generations to come. The center’s three employees manage hundreds of thousands of electronic records in addition to maintaining more than 11,000 boxes of paper records and over 6,000 historical journals.

The old Records Center had outgrown its office on Main Street in the Village of Batavia. It housed all paper and electronic records for all departments under the Board of County Commissioners as well as other elected offices. These records are held to comply with departments’ and offices’ various retention policies and all comply with the Ohio Revised Code.

Some history: Clermont County began operating a Records Center in 1998, within the old Williamsburg High School.  The goal was to create an efficient, centralized facility that would help the county better organize, manage and preserve important public records.  In 2005, the Records Center moved to its location on Main Street in Batavia and has grown and evolved into a technology-driven operation.  The Records Center manages records for over 40 county offices and departments, providing consistency to the management of county information while maintaining compliance with the Ohio Revised Code.  The new facility was built by Perkins/Carmack Construction LLC of Milford.

 

July 26, 2019

TQL expansion story illustrates power of planned economic development

BATAVIA, Ohio — Bold but deliberate decisions by Clermont County officials in 2005 continued to pay off 14 years later when Total Quality Logistics (TQL) announced plans to construct a second building at Ivy Pointe Boulevard in Union Township. The expansion will accommodate nearly 600 new employees that the third-party logistics company anticipates hiring, primarily in sales and information technology, over the next five years.

“County Commissioners at the time made a good investment in the future economic growth of Clermont County,” Commissioner Ed Humphrey said.

David Painter, President of the Board of County Commissioners, added: “This week’s good news about 600 new jobs and a $20-million investment means a brighter future for families and our community. It demonstrates the payoff of our partnership with Union Township and our continuing commitment to providing a great environment for businesses to grow and prosper.”

“This expansion proves what we’ve said all along – that Clermont County is a great place to do business, work, live and raise a family,” Commissioner Claire Corcoran said. “A big part of our quality of life lies in support of the businesses who provide important jobs and tax revenues to keep our schools, roads and other necessities solid and vibrant.”

This story started in mid-2005, when rapidly growing TQL was running out of space in Park 50, Miami Township. The company needed a new building to attract young professionals required to maintain its projected growth. No office park with available land existed in Clermont County at the time.

Ken Oaks, founder and CEO of TQL, approached Cincinnati United Contractors (CUC) to construct a new 100,000-square-foot Class A office building with highway visibility in the Cincinnati market. Having recently completed the construction of the new Union Township Civic Center, CUC president Chuck Kubicki knew that Union Township would welcome a growing company with a bright future. Kubicki also knew there were 99 acres of undeveloped land with I-275 visibility that officials in Union Township and Clermont County wanted to see developed as a business park. Several developers had unsuccessfully attempted to assemble the parcels in the past, so CUC and TQL approached officials with the township and county for assistance.

Within weeks, Clermont County officials had the property under contract. Additional agreements were then drafted which would provide a roadmap for the next decade, initiating the creation of the Ivy Pointe Commerce Park and the rebirth of the Eastgate area.

The Board of County Commissioners took very seriously the responsibility of using public tax dollars to aid in the development of a new business park. The strategy had been used by other Ohio communities, but was new and untested in Clermont County. County Commissioners crafted several agreements with the security of public funds a primary goal. To ensure the county would retain some asset with value, the county would retain ownership of the land.

Here’s how the project was structured:

  • The county purchased 99 acres of land for $8.3 million. The land was then conveyed to the Clermont County CIC, a nonprofit Community Improvement Corporation controlled by the county and established under Ohio law as a tool specifically created to aid local governments with economic development.
  • The CIC simultaneously executed agreements for TQL and CUC to buy back all the land at a predetermined price and annual takedown schedule. In the unlikely circumstance that one or both buyers walked away from the contracts, the CIC would still hold title to valuable, improved land with highway visibility.
  • The county accelerated the design and construction of Ivy Pointe Boulevard, which would provide access to the site for development. Construction costs for the road and utilities were paid for through grants and the use of Tax Increment Financing. Part of the road was privately constructed by CUC to ensure it would be ready for TQL employees to access the new corporate headquarters being constructed at the same time.
  • CUC and TQL both agreed to reimburse the CIC for annual real estate tax costs. They also agreed to pay interest to the CIC, which was based upon the amount of land each still had to buy at the beginning of every year. The interest payments totaled $1.5 million over the previous decade.

The development impacted the county more than any other single public or private development project since the construction of I-275. TQL’s growth has exceeded all expectations, with the company new employing more than 5,500 employees in 57 offices across the United States. TQL’s headquarters campus will hold over 2,000 employees when construction is complete. TQL is the second-largest freight brokerage firm in the nation, and the Greater Cincinnati region’s largest private company.

In addition to TQL, Ivy Pointe houses multiple tenants with hundreds of jobs in the Senco/Tata Building. Mercy Health opened the three-floor, 78,000-square-foot Mercy Health – Eastgate Medical Center there in May.

The Clermont County Commissioners set the policy for the CIC, determine how it will be used to achieve economic development goals that will benefit the citizens of Clermont County, and provide the necessary funding to enable the CIC to carry out its intended functions. The Commissioners also intended the initial investment of $8.3 million in Ivy Pointe to be a seed investment, which ideally would be perpetually reinvested in other economic development projects to spur private sector investment in the community. To date, these dollars have been reinvested in Jungle Jim’s, the redevelopment of the former Ford transmission plant in Batavia Township, and most recently South Afton Industrial Park in Williamsburg Township.

July 17, 2019

Clermont County Commissioners agree to settlement – Hicks vs. Clermont County lawsuit

BATAVIA, Ohio (July 17, 2019) — Clermont County Commissioners have agreed to a settlement in a case filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, captioned Hicks v. Clermont County Board of Commissioners et al., S.D. Ohio Case No. 1:17-cv-00677. (“Federal Action”).

Mr. Christopher Hicks sued the County and others claiming they did seven things wrong.  Five of the claims were dismissed, three by the judge and two Mr. Hicks dismissed himself.  Mr. Hicks was requesting money to pay his attorney fees and some money for himself.

The two remaining claims related to a July 26, 2017 Commissioners meeting and the Rules of Procedure for Commissioner Sessions.

Prior to the July 26, 2017 Commissioners meeting, Mr. Hicks had spoken at two other Commissioners meetings.  The morning of July 26, 2017, before the Commissioners meeting, Mr. Hicks sent an email to the Commissioners advising what he wanted to speak about at the meeting. At the Commissioners meeting, then Board President, David Uible, under the belief that Mr. Hicks wanted to speak about things that he had spoken about previously and things that were not germane to County business, did not permit Mr. Hicks to speak. When Mr. Hicks was asked to be seated, he refused and was removed from the meeting.

The claim related to the Commissioner’s Rules of Procedure for Session was specific to the language in the Rules that contained language used in Ohio law relating to the disturbing a lawful meeting.

The settlement agreement authorized by the Board of County Commissioners on July 17, 2019, states that the Clermont County Board of Commissioners admit that, while not being disruptive, Mr. Hicks’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech was violated when he was not given permission to speak during public participation and was removed from the Board Session meeting on July 26, 2017. The Board of Commissioners will be enjoined from removing persons from a Board Session meeting on the grounds that the person made an utterance, gesture, or display which outrages the sensibilities of the Board and from authorizing the Board President to determine whether a speaker’s remarks outrage the sensibilities of the Board at a session meeting.  Those restrictions are of no consequence in that the relevant language was previously removed from the Board Rules in January 2019.

In addition, his attorneys and Mr. Hicks will receive $145,000 for attorney fees and compensatory damages and $1,500 for court costs and Hicks’ expenses in the Federal Action.

Clermont County Board President,   David Painter stated, “It’s very unfortunate that in today’s world we can’t talk out our differences. Lawsuits have become the medium whereby discussions are held and great wealth is obtained from the pockets of tax payers.” (Video of Commissioner Painter’s comments will be available on www.clermontcountyohio.gov.)

The County has been advised that Judge Timothy S. Black, U.S. District Court; Southern District of Ohio will file a contingency dismissal of the lawsuit as a result of the settlement.

####

May 28, 2019

Judy Eschmann, Director of Job & Family Services, is retiring

Judy Eschmann

BATAVIA, Ohio (May 28, 2019) – Judy Eschmann, the Director of the Clermont County Department of Job & Family Services, is retiring on May 31 after five-and-a-half years at the helm of the agency here, and a career of 33 years in social work.

That can be a tough and challenging profession, but for Eschmann, it’s been a rewarding one. The Batavia native went to the University of Cincinnati intending to become a school teacher or social worker. After college, she took the civil service test required to work for what was then known as the county welfare department.

“Hamilton County hired me (a very young and green version of me) and I set out to ‘save the world’ and the next 33 ½ years just flew by,” she says.

As a lobby receptionist for Hamilton County, she was the first face that hundreds of people saw each day as they came in for assistance. “I worked my way up a career ladder and had an opportunity to work in many positions including case worker, supervisor, trainer, and policy coordinator,” Judy said. “In 2010, I became the director of Clinton County DJFS which is structured very similar to Clermont DJFS, but on a much smaller scale. It was a great place to learn about all the connections among agency programs including funding, shared services, program mandates and overlaps and most importantly our shared customers.

“In 2013, I became director of Clermont County DJFS and have loved every minute of it,” she says.

As director in Clermont County, Judy said she is most proud of the summer youth employment program that DJFS manages and that enlists local employers to hire youth from low-income families for summer jobs. Those jobs, which pay $10 an hour, can make a big difference to the kids – and their families.

“I remember only having a few months to pull that program together,” she says.” Our entire agency assisted with identifying eligible youth as well as reaching out and recruiting employers to serve as worksites. That team effort was the foundation for a program that has grown each year and served hundreds of youth.”

Eschmann says that it’s easy to misunderstand exactly what DJFS does – because it encompasses so many divisions.

“The name of Job and Family Services is vague and does not describe who we are, and most people don’t realize what we do,” she says. “We are a social service agency with a team of dedicated, talented, compassionate staff. In our Public Assistance Division, we assist families with temporary and long-term benefits (food, cash and Medicaid). In our OhioMeansJobs Center, we provide services to job seekers and employment training. In our Child Support Division, we establish paternity and enforce child support orders. In our Children’s Protective Services Division, we work with families to overcome barriers to keep children safe.”

As she starts a new chapter, Eschmann says, “I’m so glad I had the opportunity to end my JFS career in the county I call home. I believe the programs we administer help assist individuals and families with self-sufficiency, assist with supporting a healthy community and assist with keeping children safe. I am fortunate to work with a talented team and all our accomplishments were possible because of my team.”

After relaxing with her family a bit at home, Eschmann says she’s ready for a new career. “While I’m not as young or as green as I once was, I still have a fair amount of ‘save the world’ left in me.”

######

May 23, 2019

Commissioners approve a new distribution for Local Government Fund

BATAVIA, Ohio (May 23, 2019) – At Session on May 22, the Clermont County Board of Commissioners approved a new formula for the distribution of revenue from the Local Government Fund that will go into effect in 2020.

The formula was proposed by the Clermont County Township Association and will give townships a bigger share of funds, with cities and villages getting a smaller share. “A lot of hard work went into this and you’re to be commended for it,” said Commissioner David Painter, President of the BCC.

Ohio’s Local Government Fund (LGF) is funded with general tax receipts of the state, and is distributed back to counties and cities in Ohio. The amount of the LGF is authorized in the state’s biennial budget. In 2018, the LGF for all of Clermont County was $2.78 million. Distributions from the State of Ohio are received every month.

For years, Clermont County’s Local Government Fund was distributed through a formula that gave 48.545% of the proceeds to the county, and the remaining amount to cities, townships and villages in Clermont County, with the City of Milford, as Clermont County’s largest city, receiving the largest amount.

This alternative formula, as it was called, was reviewed every five years. Three votes were required to approve the alternative formula every five years: the Board of County Commissioners and the City of Milford each had a vote. The third vote came from the remaining municipal jurisdictions plus the townships, of which the majority ruled.

In 2018, the Commissioners passed a one-year extension to the 2012-2017 Alternative Formula.

A change to the Ohio Revised Code now allows townships to exclude the largest city in a county from having its own vote. This exclusion must be approved by the townships annually. Each of the 14 townships in Clermont County voted to exclude Milford from the approval process.

Under the new formula, the county will still receive 48.545% of the LGF. Of the remaining funds, 25% will be shared equally among all municipalities and townships. Seventy-five percent of the remaining funds will be distributed on a per capita basis, with Union and Miami townships receiving the largest amount. The new formula will be phased in over three years.

Under the current formula, the City of Milford (population 6,900) receives approximately $164,000 and Union Township (population 50,000) receives about $140,000 this year. In 2020, Milford will receive an estimated $125,000 and Union Township $178,000.

Commissioner Ed Humphrey recused himself from the Commissioners’ vote on the new formula. His son works as a police officer in Loveland, which is affected by the change in funding.

Before the formula can go into effect, the townships need to revise their resolutions and vote to exclude Milford for one year, not five years as originally proposed, by Aug. 1.

At several Sessions over the last couple of months, township, city and village officials spoke before Commissioners stating why they thought the formula should change, or why an extension of the current formula was needed to allow for more discussion.

“This particular process has been a long process,” Commissioner Painter said at Session. “One of the great things that happened is that people now understand the Local Government Fund.”

He added, “The previous formula could not be supported by good mathematics. There was a feeling out there that the formula was not fair.”

Both he and Commissioner Claire Corcoran said that because townships must vote annually on whether to give Milford a vote, this allows local governments – cities, villages and townships – to continue discussions and come up with other changes to the formula.

######