CLOSINGS AND DELAYS:

Alter High School, Ascension School, BSF Dayton Day Women, Clinton County Head Start, Jefferson Township Local Schools, Kettering City Schools, L&M Products Inc., Liberty High School, Mont. Co. E.S.C. Learning Centers, Moraine Seniors Citizens Club, Ron West Barber College, Sidney City Schools, Southeastern Local Schools, St. Albert the Great School, St. Charles Elementary, Wilmington City Schools,

County to give last presentations on 14-percent water, sewer rate hike

Published: Saturday, December 02, 2017 @ 8:00 AM


            Water went shooting 20 to 30 feet into the air after a main break in Washington Twp. in this file photo. Montgomery County is planning a 14 percent increase in water and sewer rates to generate revenue to make repairs to its aging water infrastructure. Tim Chesnut / Staff
Water went shooting 20 to 30 feet into the air after a main break in Washington Twp. in this file photo. Montgomery County is planning a 14 percent increase in water and sewer rates to generate revenue to make repairs to its aging water infrastructure. Tim Chesnut / Staff

Montgomery County water and sewer customers have a few more opportunities remaining to hear from officials about why rates are increasing 14 percent next year.

The county will give the last four of 11 presentations in Clayton, Jefferson Twp., Moraine and Washington Twp. at regularly scheduled council and township meetings over the next two weeks.

MORE: Report claims Ohio one of worst states for water quality offenses

The rate increase is coming because of deteriorating infrastructure that has resulted in higher costs for maintenance and new construction coupled with a lack of state or federal funding, according to county officials.

“It may appear to be a relatively large increase,” County Administrator Joe Tuss previously said. “But when you look at where we’ve been from an historic standpoint, it’s about catching up and generating the revenue we need to invest.”

The average Montgomery County residential customer, now paying about $170, will see quarterly bills rise about $24 next year. In addition to the 14-percent hike in 2018, rates will go up 5.6 percent each year after through 2022, the county announced Nov. 9.

Montgomery County rate increases have averaged about 2.5 percent since 2007, which is below the state average of 4 percent, according to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency data.

Officials estimate about $750 million will need to be spent over the next 20 years to maintain and replace aging portions of the system that serves about 81,000 customers.

MORE: Are the drugs we’re taking — and flushing down the toilet — hurting our water?

A larger portion of a customer’s bill will be the fixed charge, going from 20 percent to 40 percent, while consumption charges move from 80 to 60 percent. The increased fixed charge will provide more stable, long-term financing needed to upgrade and maintain the system the county values at $3.1 billion, said Pat Turnbull, the county’s Environmental Services director.

Turnbull said the county spends roughly $2 million annually to repair 300 or more water main breaks on the system primarily installed 60-70 years ago.

“The water mains are breaking more frequently. The sewer lines are cracking more frequently,” he said. “We are just reaching that point — similar to the roof on your house — when you’re having to patch leaks all the time, you get to a place where it’s time to put a new roof on”

More: Greene County officials respond to water bill complaints

While Montgomery County purchases water pumped by the city of Dayton, the county maintains a distribution system of 1,400 miles of water mains that provide drinking water and fire prevention for about 250,000 residents. The system also has 1,200 miles of sewer line and two wastewater plants.

County officials gave the presentation previously at meetings in Butler Twp., Centerville, Harrison Twp., Kettering, Miami Twp., Riverside and Trotwood.

Montgomery County water rate public presentations

Presentations will be made at regular township and city council meetings.

- Washington Twp., 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4

Township Offices, 8200 McEwen Road

- Jefferson Twp., 7 p.m., Dec. 5

Administration Building, One Business Park Dr., Dayton

- Clayton, 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7

Government Center, 6996 Taywood Rd., Englewood

- Moraine, 6 p.m., Dec. 14

Municipal Building, 4200 Dryden Rd.

Three fire departments put out Lebanon blaze

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:38 PM

3 fire departments put out House Fire at 1138 Algonquin Dr. In Lebanon

Firefighters put out a fire on Tuesday afternoon in the home at 1138 Algonquin Dr. in Lebanon.

No one was injured in the fire, reported as “heavy smoke showing” at 12:49 p.m.

Crews from Deerfield and Union township aided the Lebanon Fire Department in confining the fire to the home in a neighborhood off Cook Road and the Ohio 48 Bypass.

There were oxygen tanks in the house, but it was unclear if one was ignited, causing the blaze, Capt. Ryan Dipzinski said. The fire was put out in about 10 minutes, he said.

The scene was cleared by 1:45 p.m. No damage estimate was immediately available.

Warren County’s Massie Twp. meeting tonight over fire department future

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:43 AM


            The Massie Twp. Board of Trustees has called a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. today to discuss the future of the township fire department.
The Massie Twp. Board of Trustees has called a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. today to discuss the future of the township fire department.

The Massie Twp. Board of Trustees called a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. today to discuss the future of the township fire department.

Fire Chief Scott Hines, the department’s only paid employee, resigned on Jan. 2 after learning he was under scrutiny for purchasing food for firefighters, and part of the department’s entirely volunteer force resigned too.

“They left us with a skeleton crew,” Trustee David Crisenbery said this morning.

MORE: Safety questions raised about Caesar Creek marina

The township, home to about 1,500 residents, is on the south side of Caesar Creek Lake. The department handles emergency calls from the lake.

Since Hines’ resignation, fire and emergency calls are being handled by the remaining department along with mutual aid from fire departments in Wayne Twp., Warren County, and Chester Twp., Clinton County.

The trustees are also weighing creating a joint fire district with Chester Twp. with new levies supporting the operation.

“That is the goal,” Trustee Daryl McKinney said.

MORE: Coach boating with daughter drowns in Caesar Creek Lake

A larger district qualifies for more grants, McKinney said.

The Massie Twp department operates on a $92,000 budget from two levies.

MORE: Beavercreek Twp. to build $2.5 million fire station

Crisenbery said the township could seek an additional local levy to fund part-time paid firefighters. Also, Hines’ replacement could be picked, Crisenbery added.

“Anything’s possible tonight,” Crisenbery said. “All options, I feel, should be on the table.”

Hines said he was working with the Village of Harveysburg on creating a fire department, taking over fire and ambulance services within its municipal limits within Massie Twp.

He accused Trustee Mark Dawson of “micromanaging” him for more than two years.

“I just got tired of it,” he said.

Dawson could not be reached to respond.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the township fire station, 10 N. Harveysburg Road.

Mike Gibbons says he will beat Sherrod Brown, puts $5M in Senate race but may first face Renacci

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 9:33 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 1:32 PM

Gibbons says why he will use millions of his own money

The Republican race for U.S. Senate in Ohio appears to be in flux with the front runner out, the remaining candidate promising a huge cash infusion of his own money, and a conservative author and a candidate for governor both considering runs.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Gibbons is hoping the $5 million cash infusion he will give his campaign delivers a message to any potential rivals in the Republican primary now that Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has dropped out of the race.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Gibbon visited the Cox Media Group newsroom on Tuesday. Jim Otte/STAFF(HANDOUT/Jim Otte)

“I think that was somewhat strategic, because other people may be joining this race. And I want them to know I’m serious,” Gibbons said during an exclusive interview with Cox Media Group reporters in Dayton. “And I’m going to win this.”

RELATED: Josh Mandel drops out of the U.S. Senate race against Sherrod Brown

Gibbons  said he had not done a good job raising money from other sources but “that’s all changing.”

Late Wednesday, sources told the Dayton Daily News that U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, will drop out of the race for governor and run for U.S. Senate.

RELATED: Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci will run for U.S. Senate, GOP sources say

In a Monday interview on the “Wills and Snyder Show” on WTAM radio in Cleveland Renacci said he would consider joining the senate race if President Donald Trump asks him to, according to Renae Eze, campaign press secretary.

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, campaigning for governor in Liberty Twp. in August. . MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF(Michael Pitman/Staff)

The winner of the Republican primary would face U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in the Nov. 6 General Election. The primary filing deadline is Feb. 7.

Gibbons, a Cleveland investment banker, may face a GOP challenge from U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, who is currently running for governor, and J.D. Vance, the bestselling author of “Hillbilly Elegy.”

Jai Chabria, a former aide to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and close ally of Vance, said Vance is seriously considering running for the GOP nomination in the U.S. Senate race.

“It has been amazing how many Ohio leaders and people who have an interest in the Senate race want J.D. to run because they know he has the best message against Sherrod Brown in November,” Chabria said.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones on Wednesday announced he will not run for the nomination.

RELATED: Butler County sheriff makes decision on possible U.S. Senate run

Gibbons, whose campaign says his net worth is $90 million to $100 million, has already spent about $1 million of his own money on the Senate race. When Mandel dropped out on Friday due to his wife’s health problems, Gibbons pledged he would spend an additional $5 million “if needed to win,” according to his campaign.

Gibbons said he is unconcerned about reports that top Republicans are trying to recruit someone to replace Mandel in the race.

“I am an unknown. I’ve obviously rubbed some feathers the wrong way,” Gibbons said. “I think they are more concerned, ‘Am I going to be a team player?’ and I am.”

Gibbons said he called Mandel after he withdrew from the race.

“He hasn’t returned my call,” Gibbons said. “I’m sure he has a lot more important calls to return right now than me.”

As a first time candidate for any public office, Gibbons says he is not a part of the “establishment” and he believes his business background gives him the skills needed to be a senator.

“I think when people hear my message I’m going to have a very good chance of beating Sherrod Brown,” Gibbons said.

“Mike Gibbons is a longtime supporter of policies that cater to out-of-touch corporate executives, like himself,” said Jake Strassberger, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party. “He’s the last person who should be talking about hardworking Ohioans and their struggles to get ahead.”

Gibbons said the government is too involved in health care and that has distorted prices. He said he would not end Medicare but thinks it needs to be changed to have a stronger “free enterprise component.” Gibbons called for rewarding people for choosing “equal quality, lower cost” medical procedures and treatments. He said there is not competition in the health insurance industry.

“One of the problems we have is it’s become employer-provided health care. If we do it right we can change that,” said Gibbons, “I might create a competition with, for lack of a better term, a voucher system.”

He also wants to expand the massive tax cut that was passed in December to make it permanent to individuals and more generous to small businesses.

RELATED: Trump’s year: President gets tax victory as investigations continue

“I had to lay people off and not hire people because I was paying so much to the government in taxes,” said Gibbons, who aside from being an investment banker is also in the real estate business.

Gibbons believes the tax cut will fuel the economy, creating more government revenue he would spend on the military, and also lead to higher wages. He said he doesn’t know any employer “that doesn’t want to pay their people more wages.”

One the one hand Gibbons touted the country’s economic growth, but he also said the government is thwarting job creation.

“We’ve thrown up a barrier every step of the way through tax laws, onerous tax provisions, through regulations that many times are unnecessary, through bureaucrats making law instead of legislatures making law,” Gibbons said. “We need to clear a path for the entrepreneur. We need to clear the path for somebody to create a business.”

Staff writer Laura A. Bischoff contributed to this report

OTHER STORIES BY LYNN HULSEY

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Departures, 2018 election may reshape county government

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer to run for Ohio House

Lebanon city council split in joining lawsuit against drug companies

Published: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 @ 9:50 PM


            Doug Shope was one of two Lebanon council members who voted against joining multi-district litigation opioid makers and distributors.
Doug Shope was one of two Lebanon council members who voted against joining multi-district litigation opioid makers and distributors.

The Lebanon City Council voted 4-2 on Tuesday to join other local governments, including Dayton, and seven states in a “multi-district litigation” claiming drug manufacturers and distributors have contributed to the deadly national opioid epidemic.

RELATED: Lebanon to vote on joining local governments suing drug companies

Lebanon and Dayton are among local governments in Alabama, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Washington and West Virginia bringing public nuisance lawsuits against drug companies, all of which are to be handled by Judge Dan Polster of U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio.

MORE: Warren County autopsy spike blamed on opioid epidemic

Lebanon Councilman Doug Shope joined Councilwoman Wendy Monroe in voting against the resolution authorizing the city to contract with Columbus lawyer to David J. Butler to bring Lebanon’s lawsuit designed to win a settlement helping the city pay for the costs of delaying with overdoses and other aspects of the epidemic.

“I don’t think this is the right tool to fix it,” Shope said.

Mayor Amy Brewer and council members Krista Wyatt, Jeff Aylor and Jim Dearie voted to join the legal action.

“What really galls me is they are making tons of money off of it,” Dearie said.

Councilman Mark Messer was absent.