August 2, 2018

Special Session to be held Aug. 14 to review FC Cincinnati plans

BATAVIA, Ohio – The Clermont County Board of Commissioners will hold a Special Session at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14, in the Board’s session room to review a development agreement and draft of the Clermont County Port Authority preliminary term sheet relating to the proposed FC Cincinnati practice facility in Milford.

The Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the City of Milford and FC Cincinnati will be asked to present the development agreement for the facility.

The CVB, FC Cincinnati, and the City of Milford have asked the Board of County Commissioners to approve a 1% increase in the lodging tax for Clermont County, which would raise it from 6% to 7%. The City of Milford has asked that the additional revenue be used to help repay city securities that will be used for property acquisition.

Commissioners said last year that before they voted on any increase in the lodging tax, they would hold a meeting to invite public input.

Commissioners are not expected to vote on the lodging tax on Aug. 14.

The County Administration Building is located at 101 E. Main St., Batavia. The Session Room is on the third floor.

About the Clermont County Port Authority

July 31, 2018

9 community projects to receive CDBG funds

BATAVIA, Ohio –Nine projects throughout Clermont County, totaling $807,666, have been approved for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. Funds for the projects will begin to flow in six to nine months, according to Sherri Cmar, Grants Coordinator for Clermont County.

The projects include:

  • Bethel-Tate Fire Department Parking Lot Repairs — $99,752. This project will replace the asphalt and concrete parking lot of the Fire Department.
  • Village of Amelia Chapel Road Sidewalk Extension — $78,594. Extension of the existing box culvert on Chapel Road across from Burnham Woods Drive to extend the sidewalk to the school entrance. This will permit safe passage for children and parents from Burnham Woods when walking to school.
  • Village of New Richmond Susanna Way Promenade — $157,500. Addition of sidewalks to the Susanna Way Promenade from Western Avenue to Sophia Street.
  • Franklin Township Fire and EMS Building Improvements — $227,820. Improvements to the Franklin Township Fire and EMS Building that will permit the consolidation of public services between Franklin Township Fire and the Clermont County Sherriff’s Department by adding an office for an on-duty sheriff’s deputy as well as a Fire Auxiliary office, and other improvements to the building such as brick and concrete work.
  • Clermont County Public Health, Septic System Remediation Program — $100,000. This will provide for septic system repairs and replacements for seven or so households.
  • Community Alternative Sentencing Center Substance Abuse Counseling — $71,000. Drug and alcohol counseling will be provided for approximately 25 people.
  • People Working Cooperatively Home Repairs — $50,000. Home repair services, including lead paint remediation, for at least 25 households.
  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal — $15,000. Will assist at least 25 families with Fair Housing services.
  • Fair Housing, Cool Tools for Schools – $8,000. Backpacks and school supplies for low-income children.

The CDBG program, administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provides grants to cities and urban counties to help spur economic development. The grants are primarily targeted toward assisting low-income families and can also help with infrastructure needs.

Each year, communities in Clermont County apply for grants, which are then reviewed and ranked, Cmar said. The Board of County Commissioners then submits the list of projects to HUD for review. HUD then submits the projects to Congress for final approval. Environmental reviews for each project are still needed before the funds are released, Cmar said.

“CDBG funds allow local communities to leverage their dollars and often provide for much needed infrastructure,” said Andy Kuchta, Director of Community and Economic Development. “They are an effective tool for many of our smaller jurisdictions.”

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July 30, 2018

85 new jobs coming to Clermont County at South Afton Industrial Park

BATAVIA, Ohio – The Clermont County CIC has sold its first property at South Afton Industrial Park to Duke Realty, which will build a $17 million, 617,760-square-foot, build-to-suit distribution facility for Design Within Reach, a furniture and home accessories company. Design Within Reach expects to employ 85 people at its facility.

A groundbreaking is scheduled for Aug. 15 and Duke Realty expects to finish the project by early 2019.

Duke Realty closed on its purchase of 46.83 acres at South Afton for $30,000 per acre on July 9. South Afton, which is located on State Route 32 at Half Acre Road in Williamsburg Township, is a 242-acre industrial park in Clermont County. The Clermont County CIC purchased the land in 2016 to develop a business-ready site that would be attractive for both manufacturing and distribution businesses.

“When Commissioners made the decision to purchase the South Afton property, and invest in the infrastructure, we knew that over time our commitment would pay off,” said Commissioner Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners. “We’re so pleased that Design Within Reach has decided to locate in Clermont County at South Afton Industrial Park, and bring 85 new jobs to our county. We believe that as more businesses locate to South Afton that it will be the home of hundreds of jobs, and be a spur to development in the eastern half of Clermont County.”

“We’re thrilled that our new facility will contribute to economic growth in the local area with the creation of many new jobs,” said John McPhee, President of Design Within Reach.

“This new facility will incorporate modern features that are designed to enhance storage, distribution and fulfillment capabilities and provide excellent access to several major highways,” said Dan Colletto, Vice President of Leasing and Development for Duke Realty in Cincinnati.

McPhee added that the location “will provide better access to I-77 and to the New York City metropolitan area, where we have a large client base and a significant portion of our deliveries take place.”

Under an Ohio Enterprise Zone agreement approved by the Board of Commissioners on July 25, the project was granted a 20% tax exemption for 10 years on real estate taxes, saving approximately $75,000 annually. The Williamsburg Township Board of Trustees approved the agreement on July 9.

On July 30, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved job creation tax credits for Design Within Reach.

The Clermont County CIC, an economic development entity of the county, has invested $2.5 million in infrastructure at South Afton to make it more desirable to potential customers. Beginning in late 2016 and continuing through 2017, the CIC added 2,000 linear feet of road, water main and sanitary sewers, storm water infrastructure, a natural gas line, and conduit for electric, telecom and fiber, making South Afton truly “shovel ready.”

“The county made a substantial investment into South Afton, and we are confident that over time we will see significant job growth here. The addition of 85 jobs in Williamsburg Township at South Afton Industrial Park is a promising first step in the development of this area of Clermont County,” said Commissioner David Painter. “We are thrilled to welcome Duke Realty and Design Within Reach to South Afton Industrial Park!”

“Duke Realty’s decision to buy 47 acres of land and build a new state-of-the-art distribution facility for Design Within Reach is a great vote of confidence for South Afton Industrial Park and Clermont County,” said Commissioner David Uible. “When we began South Afton, it was with the realization that not enough shovel-ready industrial sites were available in Greater Cincinnati. We fully intended South Afton to help fill that gap, and it will. South Afton will be a true spur to our county’s growth.”

Gary Jordan, Chairman of the Williamsburg Township Board of Trustees, said, “We’re excited to have Duke Realty and Design Within Reach as the first project at South Afton. We thank them for investing in Williamsburg Township and wish them the greatest success!

“We also appreciate the Clermont County Commissioners and the Clermont County economic development team for partnering with us to make South Afton Industrial Park a reality, and their leadership in creating the environment for companies to bring new jobs and invest in our community,” Jordan added. “This effort has been a shared vision and a common goal.”

About South Afton Industrial Park: A 242-acre industrial park at the southeastern corner of State Route 32 and Half Acre Road in Williamsburg Township. The land was purchased by the Clermont County CIC in February 2016 for $4.9 million, using proceeds from the Ivy Pointe development in Union Township. An economic impact study by the Economics Center of the University of Cincinnati estimated that the industrial park would eventually create more than 1,800 direct jobs and more than 1,600 indirect jobs. Read more here: http://cincinnatiohioindustrialpark.com/

 About Design Within Reach: Design Within Reach, Inc., founded in 1998 and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, sells its furniture and accessories to residential and commercial customers. It is a subsidiary of Herman Miller, Inc. More information can be found here: http://www.dwr.com.

About Duke Realty: In the Cincinnati metro area, Duke Realty owns, manages, or has under development nearly 10 million square feet of industrial properties. Nationally, Duke Realty Corp. owns and operates 150 million rentable square feet of industrial assets in 20 key U.S. logistics markets. Duke Realty is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol DRE and is listed on the S&P 500. More information about Duke Realty Corporation is available at www.dukerealty.com.

 

July 27, 2018

Kasich approves state relief program for jurisdictions impacted by February storms

BATAVIA, Ohio – The Clermont County Emergency Agency was notified on July 25 that Gov. John Kasich approved the implementation of the State Disaster Relief Program (SDRP) for local government agencies in Clermont County impacted by the Ohio River flood and tornado that occurred this past February.

These jurisdictions have the potential to be reimbursed up to an estimated $943,000. Each eligible agency must submit a letter of intent to apply to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, which is coordinating this effort, by Aug. 24. The Ohio EMA will then get funding approval from the State Controlling Board, which meets on Sept. 10, before distributing any funds.

These expenses represent local government outlays during the flood and tornado, including debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly-owned facilities. This funding is available to the local political subdivisions and non-profit organizations that participated in the damage assessment process.

The jurisdictions and potential reimbursement amounts are:

Batavia Township                                          $104,000

Clermont County Engineer                          $266,139.63

Clermont County Sheriff                              $9,237.95

Washington Township                                 $58,719.40

Village of New Richmond                            $124,811.80

Clermont County Commissioners             $11,351.34

Franklin Township                                       $246,277.44

Monroe Township                                        $18,081.46

Pierce Township                                           $44,601.78

Village of Moscow                                        $30,000

Clermont Municipal Court                         $5,089

Clermont County Park District                  $3,500

Adams-Clermont Solid Waste District     $21,000

Countywide Total                                   $942,809.80

Previously, these Clermont County jurisdictions had submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster relief through its Public Assistance Program. FEMA denied certain expenses that it considered ineligible as FEMA was unable to determine that the damage was caused specifically during the February storms.

Under the SDRP, the state will reimburse 75% of eligible expenses. Each government agency will be responsible for the balance of the expenses.

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July 25, 2018

Commissioners make Port Authority appointments

Rex Parsons

BATAVIA, Ohio – Clermont County Commissioners today (July 25) appointed Batavia Township Administrator Rex Parsons to the Clermont County Port Authority. Parsons will fill the unexpired term of Christopher Hamm, who resigned on July 16 and whose term was due to end on Aug. 19 of this year. Parsons was also appointed to a full four-year term beginning on Aug. 20, 2018, through Aug. 19, 2022.

Commissioners also reappointed Greg DeFisher, President and CEO of Freeman Schwabe Machinery, to a four-year term, from Aug. 20, 2018, through Aug 19, 2022. DeFisher was appointed on Nov. 11, 2017, to fill an unexpired term.

Parsons said he looked forward to serving on the Port Authority. “Port Authorities are effective tools in economic development,” he said. “As more companies move to Clermont County, or expand in Clermont County, all of our communities benefit.”

In his letter of resignation Hamm, CEO of GSM Recycling, said, “As a member since inception, I am proud of the work that was accomplished by our team during my tenure. As I focus on other endeavors, I wish the Port Authority continued success in supporting development in Clermont County.”

The Port Authority was established by County Commissioners in 2012 to facilitate economic development in Clermont County. Under the Ohio Revised Code, Port Authorities have extensive powers to promote development. More information can be found here.

July 25, 2018

August is Child Support Awareness Month

BATAVIA, Ohio – Today (July 25) Commissioners recognized August as Child Support Awareness Month.

Brenda Gilreath, Assistant Director of Clermont County Child Support Services, noted that in 2017, her office collected almost $36 million on behalf of more than 13,000 families.

Gilreath said that in Ohio, more than $1.8 billion is collected annually in child support, making it one of the most crucial elements of a family’s stability. She thanked employers for being such good partners with Child Support Services, along with the courts and Sheriff’s Office.

“During Child Support Awareness Month, we recognize all parents who are deeply committed to the success of their children,” Commissioner David Painter said as he read the proclamation. “Our children’s lives count enough to make every possible effort to ensure that a solid foundation is established for every child in Clermont County.”

This year, Clermont County Child Support is participating in a statewide coloring contest for children.

Children are encouraged to create and turn in their hand-drawn artwork to the Child Support office by 4 p.m. on Aug. 31. The artwork can be dropped off or mailed to: Child Support Services, 2400 Clermont Center Drive, Batavia Ohio 45103.

Prizes will be awarded for the top three submissions ($20, $15, $10 gift cards to McDonalds) and the first-place submission will be referred to Child Support’s state office to be considered for a statewide calendar for distribution during 2020 Child Support Awareness Month.

The artwork requires an authorization by a parent or guardian. More information on the contest can be found here: https://bit.ly/2O3Xgju.

July 25, 2018

Rains named director of county budget office

BATAVIA, Ohio – Clermont County Commissioners today named Mary Rains director of the Office of Management and Budget. She will assume the position on July 30.

Ms. Rains, who is now a budget analyst, has worked in finance and budget matters for the Board of County Commissioners since 1979, when she began to work for Clermont County.

As director of OMB, Ms. Rains will oversee all budgetary and fiscal operations that come under the purview of the Board of County Commissioners. Ms. Rains replaces Sukie Scheetz who in May was named assistant county administrator.

“We’re delighted that Mary, with her experience and in-depth knowledge of the county’s budget operations, will be taking this position,” said Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners. “She has long been an asset to county departments in helping them to manage their budgets.”

Ms. Rains is a longtime resident of Monroe Township.

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July 16, 2018

Korean War veterans to be honored at County Fair

BATAVIA, Ohio – The Clermont County Fair will hold the annual Salute to Veterans, Troops & Their Families at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 22. This year’s Salute will recognize veterans of the Korean War, said Bob Proud, the longtime organizer and emcee of the event.

“We encourage all the Korean War veterans in Clermont County to join us Sunday night and be recognized for their valiant service,” said Proud, a former Clermont County commissioner.

Col. Chip Tansill (U.S. Army, retired), Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, will speak at the ceremony. Also attending willo be several representatives of the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission.

The Salute will be held at the Multi-Purpose Building at the County Fairgrounds, which is air conditioned. Sunday is Preview Day at the fair, and admission is free.

Thursday, July 26, is Veterans Day at the fair. Veterans are admitted free to the fair all week as long as they have appropriate identification with them.

A complete fair schedule can be found here: http://www.clermontcountyfair.org/fairschedule.htm.

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July 9, 2018

Former county employee sentenced for theft

BATAVIA, Ohio – Mary Ann Belt, a former executive assistant in the Clermont County Water Resources Department, was sentenced on July 6 to four years of community control and 30 days in jail on a felony charge of theft of the fourth degree.

Common Pleas Judge Anthony Brock also ordered Belt to repay the full amount of $10,841.65 that she stole. She must also attend a class on corrective thinking and must tell any current or future employers about her conviction.

Belt, who worked as an executive assistant from 2016-17, charged gift cards and other personal items to a Lowe’s credit card and then submitted false invoices to the county for the charges.

In a plea deal on April 25, Belt agreed to repay the total amount in exchange for a lesser charge, but she was unable to come up with the amount by her next court appearance on June 4. At that time, she pleaded guilty to the more severe fourth degree charge.

“Every county employee must be held to the highest standards when it comes to the public trust. This is especially so for those who handle financial accounts,” said County Administrator Tom Eigel. “We have practices in place that will help prevent theft, and we will pursue any irregularities that we detect.”

July 2, 2018

Newtonsville sewer project to be redesigned

BATAVIA, Ohio – After receiving extensive feedback from residents of the Village of Newtonsville, Clermont County Commissioners approved a contract on June 25 for the redesign for the village’s sewer and wastewater treatment project. CH2M Engineers, Inc., will redesign the system to provide conventional gravity sewers to all properties that will benefit from the project.

Currently, properties in the Village of Newtonsville have septic systems. In October 2012, residents were notified by Clermont Public Health that a significant number of homes had failing septic systems, and sewage created a health risk. At that time, Public Health recommended public sewer to serve the residents in the project area.

Since then, the Clermont County Water Resources Department has completed extensive engineering fieldwork and project design. A number of public information meetings have been held including a Public Hearing on Sept. 25, 2017, and the fourth Public Informational Meeting on March 13, 2018.

At the March meeting, a majority of the property owners who spoke indicated their support for a full gravity collection system, and not the hybrid collection system that had been presented to them previously. The hybrid collection system included a combination of conventional gravity sewers and STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pump) to convey wastewater to the proposed wastewater treatment facility.

In surveys conducted following the Public Hearing, a total of 59% of the benefitted property owners responded, and of those a majority supported proceeding with the project. Of that majority, most supported a redesign to a full conventional gravity collection system to serve all properties in the project area.

In a letter sent to residents on June 26, Chris Rowland, P.E., Assistant Sanitary Engineer, noted that the change to a full gravity system would increase the minimum assessment from $190 per front foot of property to $234 per front foot.

The design is scheduled to be completed this fall, and a public hearing is likely to be scheduled in January 2019. Construction could start in early 2020, with sewer connections starting in the spring of 2021.

The Water Resources Department has secured $3 million in grants for this project, and is contributing $1.1 million from wastewater capital improvement funds.

The original project design served approximately 145 property owners and 230 parcels of land in and around the Village of Newtonsville. The exact number of properties to be added as a result of the new design is to be determined.

The redesign contract with CH2M Engineers, Inc., is for $248,457. More information on the project can be found here: https://bit.ly/2N9UNna