Montgomery County drivers could pay more as result of new state law

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 10:19 AM

            Montgomery County drivers could pay more if an additional $5 tax is approved. A state law changed to allow the additional fee, which would generate about $2 million for local roads and bridges. Here, drivers find themselves in a crawl all the way from downtown to the Edwin C. Moses Boulevard interchange. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
            Chris Stewart
Montgomery County drivers could pay more if an additional $5 tax is approved. A state law changed to allow the additional fee, which would generate about $2 million for local roads and bridges. Here, drivers find themselves in a crawl all the way from downtown to the Edwin C. Moses Boulevard interchange. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF(Chris Stewart)

Motor vehicle registration and renewal costs in Montgomery County may go up another $5 beginning in 2019 because of a tax proposal to help pay for future road and bridge work.

The tax could generate about $2 million a year for the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office through use of a new law in the state transportation budget that passed in March and allows counties to add the fee to pay for project planning and improvements.

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Montgomery County Administrator Joe Tuss said the engineer’s office is expected to submit the plan next month.

“This is something that is sorely needed in this community. Those dollars will be devoted to the road and bridge infrastructure needs,” Tuss said.

The soonest the new fee could hit vehicle owners is January 2019. More than 518,000 vehicles are registered in the county, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

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Montgomery County has 541 bridges and 320 miles of roadway, some not in the best shape, said Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner.

“None of the roads are in a condition I’d like them to be in,” he said. “Our real income over the last 25 years has increased less than 10 percent, while all of the costs of everything we buy, including asphalt, has more than doubled … That’s the fight we are up against.”

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Phil Parker, president and CEO of Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, said the new tax will likely be supported by chamber members — especially in a local economy heavy on manufacturing and logistics — because the funds will be directly invested on bridge and road projects that will provide a return to the community.

“No one likes extra taxes, no one likes extra fees,” Parker said. “If we ask for a fee increase but designate it for improvements to the transportation infrastructure, I think much of the business community will look at it and say that’s not a waste.”

MORE: Ohio road construction projects to cost $2.3B

Most vehicle owners in the county already pay permissive motor vehicle license taxes of $20, which was the limit until the new law took effect in June. If the county commission approves the measure next year, the additional taxes would climb to $25 for many.

The base cost for passenger vehicle registrations is $34.50 annually before tacking on the permissive taxes, which can vary between counties and even by municipalities within the same county if a local government has levied the tax.

Montgomery County vehicle owners in Jefferson Twp., Moraine, New Lebanon, Phillipsburg, Vandalia and Verona currently pay only three of the $5 incremental levies.

EARLIER: Ohio Senate votes to allow $5 license plate fee increase

The new tax would apply to all vehicle types except for concrete pumps and concrete conveyors, Gruner said. There are also exceptions for some federal, state and local government vehicles and those owned by veterans under certain circumstances.

Two Ohio counties have already approved the fee and will begin collecting it in the 2019 registration year, according to the BMV.

Montgomery County road and bridge projects are financed with a share of fuel tax revenue, the federal Highway Trust Fund and motor vehicle registration fees.

Operations within the county engineer’s office are largely funded through the basic motor vehicle licensing tax, which will provide about $5.2 million of the office’s $14 million 2018 budget. Existing permissive license taxes will account for $4.2 million, and fuel taxes will add $2.3 million, according to county records.

Two public hearings are required before the provision can be voted on by the Montgomery County Commission.

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What a new 15-year garbage plan means for costs in Butler County

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 4:00 AM

            Rumpke trash collector Mike McDonald in July was busy working his route along Millikin St. GREG LYNCH / STAFF
Rumpke trash collector Mike McDonald in July was busy working his route along Millikin St. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Under a Butler County Solid Waste Management Plan recently adopted for the next 15 years, fees charged for disposing of trash will rise slightly. Not this year, and not in 2019, but on Jan. 1, 2020.

There’s good news about that fee increase, of 18 cents per ton of disposed waste: Even after it rises from 82 cents per ton to $1 per ton in 2020, the fee will be half what it was early this decade, when it was $2 per ton.

Butler County officials recently approved the plan, as did Hamilton City Council, which as the county’s largest city had veto power over the plan. The solid waste generation fee is a charge that is assessed on all waste that is generated in Butler County and disposed of in Ohio landfills.

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“Butler County Solid Waste District has made strides to reduce the solid-waste generation fee from a high of $2 a ton to $1 a ton in 2013,” said Anne Fiehrer Flaig, director of the Butler County Recycling & Solid Waste District. “We actually had an additional fee reduction again in 2014, bringing the current fee to 82 cents a ton.”

“Our fee reduction was unprecedented in the state of Ohio,” Fiehrer Flaig told Hamilton officials. “We are very cost-conscious, and we are truly able to operate, (and) provide programming to citizens.”

All the programming the district has had during the past 10 years will continue, including reduction of household hazardous waste, collection of Freon-using appliances and an electronic waste program that recycles televisions and other electronics.

“We consider this (2020 increase) a ‘just-in-time’ funding mechanism to ensure that we have sufficient funds to maintain all of the programs that are outlined in the plan,” she told Hamilton officials.

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The plan already has preliminary approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

One significant change in the plan from the past is the district will be required to estimate the greenhouse gases reduced through recycling in the county, Fiehrer Flaig told this media outlet.

“They want us to be able to calculate an impact for that,” Fiehrer Flaig said. “Some people find that controversial, depending on your world view.”

The new plan also gives the waste district the option of adding recycling incentives.

MORE: Where to safely get rid of unwanted prescriptions in Butler County

She also told Hamilton officials she pledged to support any recycling programs Hamilton wants to create, including possibly additional recycling bins in the area where officials wish to create a downtown outdoor refreshment area. The organization also helped with recycling bins near the RiversEdge Amphitheater when that facility was launched, she said.

City officials thanked her for her efforts and indicated they will take her up on her offer to help with recycling downtown.

“I think one of the emphases in this plan will be to work in a greater capacity with the school districts, to help them divert more waste (for recycling) our of the schools,” she said. “We have a mission to do that. We also want to work with our elected officials to help them feel more empowered about implementing additional recycling strategies.”

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The solid-waste district recently started an electronic-waste recycling program for televisions, phones, gaming devices and other electronics: “It’s something we hear from consumers, that they need services for this that is low-cost or no cost,” she said. “We’ll be offering our service free of charge in the month of September, in both Hamilton and Middletown, at Cohen( Recycling).

Butler County Recycling

Here are the goals of Butler County’s recycling program:

  • Goal 1: Ensure adequate infrastructure for residents and businesses to recycle solid waste.
  • Goal 2: Reduce/recycle at least 25 percent of the waste generated by the residential/commercial sector and 66 percent of waste generated by the industrial sector.
  • Goal 3: Provide a web site, resource guide, inventory of available infrastructure, and a speaker or presenter.
  • Goal 4: Provide education, outreach, and technical assistance regarding reduction, recycling composting, reuse and other alternative waste management methods to target audiences.
  • Goal 5: Provide strategies for scrap tires, lead-acid batteries, household hazardous wastes, yard waste, and electronic devices.
  • Goal 6: Explore economic incentives for source reduction and recycling programs.
  • Goal 7: NEW! Evaluate the impact of recycling programs on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Goal 8: Option of providing programs to develop markets for recyclable materials and recycled-content materials.
  • Goal 9: Report annually to Ohio EPA regarding implementation of the District’s solid waste management plan.

Source: Butler County Recycling & Solid Waste District

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After delay, Warren County moves ahead with construction of $45M jail

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 1:07 PM

            Warren County commissioners moved ahead today with plans for a new county jail.
Warren County commissioners moved ahead today with plans for a new county jail.

The Warren County Board of Commissioners voted today to contract with the Ohio architectural firm Wachtel & McAnally to design the new Warren County Jail.

The firm replaces KZF Design, a Cincinnati firm that planned to collaborate with California-based Dewberry on the project.

MORE: Who’s in the Warren County Jail

The commissioners picked KZF over Wachtel & McAnally, the firm preferred by a staff committee.

Sheriff Larry Sims said this firm has designed about a third of the state’s county jails.

“Today is a great day for Warren County. We are grateful our commissioners have agreed to a contract to hire Wachtel & McAnally as our architect and planners for our new jail and sheriff’s office,” Sims said in an email after the vote.

RELATED: County picks architect it plans to have design new jail

Negotiations broke down with KZF, and the commissioners authorized negotiations with the Ohio firm in December.

With Commissioner Dave Young absent, commissioners Shannon Jones and Tom Grossmann voted on Tuesday to approve a contract with the Ohio firm, agreeing to pay it 7.5 percent of the total construction cost, expected to be $44 million to $45 million. The estimated fee is $3.3 million.

“Our jail has been overcrowded for years now, and we have been releasing or refusing inmates on a regular basis. This can’t come soon enough,” Sims added.

RELATED: Taxpayers get chance to weigh in on new jail plan

Next, the county is to select a construction manager for the project and complete construction design by June 2019.

Deputy Administrator Martin Russell said the architect and construction manager will work with county staff on plans, including whether to build an entirely new facility or expand the existing jail in the county complex in Lebanon, or build the new facility on land on the edge of Lebanon.

“We’ll evaluate all options. It’s preferred it would be kept on the current site,” Russell said, adding he hoped to shorten timetable.

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Construction of the new jail is expected to take two years, meaning it is expected to open in 2021.

“Even though we have a way to go, we are now able to sit at the table to plan for our future,” Sims said.

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Miami County engineer asks commissioners to OK $5 license fee hike

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 5:03 PM

            Miami County engineer wants the commissioners to increase license fees by $5 to help generate money for road repairs and paving. Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Miami County engineer wants the commissioners to increase license fees by $5 to help generate money for road repairs and paving. Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Those responsible for caring for Miami County’s roads are pleased they’ve been able to expand the county paving program in recent years, but could do a lot more with an added $5 annual license fee allowed by the state legislature, County Engineer Paul Huelskamp said Tuesday, in presenting his annual report.

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Huelskamp “respectfully” requested the county commissioners to consider an August 2017 letter he submitted discussing the provision to add onto the annual vehicle registration fee, a move he said would generate another $600,000 each year.

The $5 added tax to register a vehicle was approved last month in Montgomery County, where it will become effective Jan. 1, 2019 and is expected to raise $2 million more annually for projects.

RELATED: The cost to register a car in Montgomery County is going up

The commissioners heard Huelskamp’s report and commended his department for its efforts, particularly the leveraging of local funds with state and federal grants for road and bridge projects. The commissioners did not discuss the fee proposal Tuesday. The state law allows counties, but not other governments, to pass the tax following public hearings.

In the annual report, Huelskamp said the county paved 24.55 miles in 2017 at a cost of $1,642,670. He noted, though, the county has 423.5 miles of roads under its care and the industry standard for paving cycles is 10 years. To meet that standard, the county would need to pave about 42.35 miles per year.

In the 2017 letter, Huelskamp said the added money would help the county to get to a 15-year cycle.

Commissioner Greg Simmons asked what other counties had taken advantage of the additional tax.

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The $5 added tax has been passed by several larger counties while a few others have scheduled required public hearings.

“The larger counties are the ones that have already (passed the tax),” Huelskamp said.

The county the past couple of years could pave more miles because of mild winters and aggressive pursuit of alternative funding, Huelskamp said. Lower salt costs were a factor. This winter, the county spent $250,427 through Feb. 7 on snow removal.

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Miami County GOP endorses Taylor for Ohio governor

Published: Sunday, March 11, 2018 @ 8:19 PM


Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor won the Miami County Republican Party endorsement in the gubernatorial election.

Miami County is the only county in the State to hold Republican Convention to endorse candidates. The convention was held at Edison State Community College in Piqua. 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor(AP)

This was an upset for candidate Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, who was excepting to win the endorsement. His campaign worked the phones all week contacting delegates in support of DeWine. 

Taylor was not at the convention. Her running mate Nathan Estruth spoke on their support at the convention. 

The 431 seated delegates at the 9th Miami County Republican Convention for contested primaries in Ohio endorsed the following candidates: 


Mary Taylor 181 

Mike Dewine 142 


80th Ohio House District: 

John W. O'Brien 207 

JD Winteregg 67 

Jena Powell 31 

George Lovett 27 


U.S. Senate: 

Mike Gibbons 176 

Jim Renacci 137 

Dan Kiley 25 

Don Elijah Eckhart 4 


State Treasurer: 

Robert Sprague (endorsed) 

Sandra O'Brien (did not make appearance) 


5th District State Central Committee (Woman) 

Mary Beth Kemmer 291 

Lisa Hayes 33 


5th District State Central Committee (Man) 

Steve Bruns 209 

Dave Cook 115

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