Turner, state lawmakers upset state declined money for Wright-Patt

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 7:22 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 7:22 PM

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner and area state lawmakers had a press conference Thursday to express their frustration with a state panel's rejection of a Wright-Patterson AFB plea for funding. Video produced by Barrie Barber.

Area lawmakers are upset Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was shut out of a share of $5 million in state aid vowed changes Thursday to a state panel that decided to split the money for projects at two Ohio Air National Guard bases.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner and state Reps. Niraj Antani and Rick Perales spoke at a Thursday press conference about their frustrations with Wright-Patterson’s being shut out in a plea for funding for four infrastructure projects, covering everything from roof repairs to security gates.

Antani, R-Miami Twp., and Perales, R-Beavercreek, vowed to work to change how the money was awarded and review who sits on the nine-member Ohio Military Facilities Commission, five of whom were former high-ranking Ohio National Guard leaders.

Turner, R-Dayton, said he was “outraged” when he learned the commission bypassed Wright-Patterson for a share of millions of dollars to help pay for infrastructure projects.

“We know there are facilities that need funding all across the state but certainly with the largest single-site employer in the state right here in the Miami Valley we were very surprised and disappointed that not a dollar of the $5 million would come to Dayton, Ohio,” he said at a press conference in his downtown Dayton district office.

RELATED: Wright-Patt loses out on millions in state dollars

The congressman, a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, said he had worked with Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, to push for the creation of a pot of state money to defray infrastructure costs at federal installations like Wright-Patterson in a bid to compete with other states doing the same thing and out to capture new missions and jobs.

Turner said he expects a base realignment and closure process, or BRAC, will begin next year and start to have an impact in 2020.

Wright-Patterson has a workforce of about 27,000, the most at one employer site in Ohio. The panel voted to send $2.5 million to help relocate a taxiway at Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base and $2.5 million to help build a combined deployment and processing and physical fitness center at Toledo Air National Guard Base.

“As the largest single-site employer, the entire region benefits from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and if this is only going to fund athletic facilities at National Gaurd bases which really don’t face a threat from the federal government to move jobs and missions around, we don’t want to support that funding,” Antani said.

For the panel to divide the “entire pot of funds for two facilities makes you question really what was doing on with the commission and the implications that were in front of them,” Turner said.

The evaluation process should include the workforce size at the facility and the spin-off technology created to “reflect the true value of the military installations” in Ohio, Perales said. He has a budget request for $5 million more to fund the program in the future.

RELATED: Wright-Patt to ask for state funds

The two state lawmakers also noted the majority, or five of the nine members of the commission, were former high-ranking Ohio National Guard leaders.

Antani said the Dayton region, which had one commission member, should have a higher share of the appointees with the state’s largest work site at Wright-Patterson.

“I think we need to retake a look at who’s getting appointed and if they have a conflict of interest in serving in the National Guard,” he said in part.

In an email Thursday, Commission Chairman Mark D. Wagoner Jr., a Toledo area lawyer and former state lawmaker, referred questions about who sits on the commission to the appointing authorities, which were the House, Senate and the governor’s office.

“I would also note that the vote of the Commission was unanimous, so the four members with no previous affiliation with the National Guard also voted to adopt the rankings of the neutral evaluator,” he wore in an email.

According to an OFMC document, chosen projects had applications with supporting documents that gave “much greater detail directly tying the infrastructure projects to military value” and the last base realignment and closure guidelines.

RELATED: Some U.S. military bases face closure threat to save money

Ten projects totaling $13.3 million in requests obtained a point score on how the improvement might increase the military value of the facility in a future round of base closures; local state or matching dollars offered; and a project cost estimate and deadline to completion.

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.

RELATED: Ohio offers a whopping 269 specialty license plates

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).

MORE: Keowee Street detours delayed, but bridge will close for almost 2 years

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.”

MORE: Roads and bridges falling apart, but cost goes unfunded

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.

Former stripper to launch second bid for governor

Published: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, December 08, 2017 @ 9:01 AM

Larry Ealy, 2014 candidate for governor who has taken out petitions to run in 2018.
Larry Ealy, 2014 candidate for governor who has taken out petitions to run in 2018.

A former exotic dancer who went by the name Luscious Larry is launching a second bid for Ohio governor.

Larry Ealy of Trotwood has picked up petitions to run in the May 8 Democratic Primary, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

In 2014 Ealy and running mate Ken Gray of Cincinnati received 17,197 votes — 17 percent of those cast statewide — in the Democratic primary against former Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Sharen Schwartz Neuhardt of Yellow Springs. FitzGerald won the primary with 83 percent of the vote but lost the general election to Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

RELATED: Ohio governor candidate’s son accused of falsifying hundreds of tax returns

During an interview at the time, Ealy said that he was running because he believed “the Jewish Democratic party is behind the deprivation and the conspiracy to keep black people deprived of all civil rights.”

He also said he was allowed to practice law without a license.

Ealy and three others were investigated for alleged irregularities in voter signatures on the nominating petitions he submitted to get on the ballot in 2014.

RELATED: Fraud probe launched in candidate’s run for governor

A grand jury reviewed all four cases and did not return indictments on Ealy or Keith Belluardo of Dayton, said Greg Flannagan, spokesman for Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck Jr.

Two others were indicted. Bruce Black of Dayton pleaded guilty to two counts of prohibitions related to petitions — a fifth degree felony — and was sentenced to probation on Oct. 26, 2017, Flannagan said. Jody Lane of Dayton was indicted on the same charges and a warrant was issued for him on June 29, 2017, according to documents on file at the Montgomery County Common Pleas Clerk of Court.

Ealy and Belluardo both denied wrongdoing in a 2014 interview.

RELATED: Local governor candidate denies he committed election fraud

Ealy, who could not be reached for comment, is the father of Lance Ealy, who was sentenced to 124 months in prison in 2015 after being convicted of charges involving filing more than 150 fraudulent federal income tax returns.

Lance Ealy sent to prison in tax fraud case

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

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Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer to run for Ohio House

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Montgomery County recount leaves results unchanged

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 5:22 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 8:17 PM

A recount of three races by the Montgomery County Board of Elections left results unchanged
A recount of three races by the Montgomery County Board of Elections left results unchanged

The Montgomery County Board of Elections recount in three races leaves results unchanged, said Jan Kelly, director of the board.

Automatic recounts completed this week were required in races where the margin of difference in the vote fell within one-half of one percent.

RELATED: Some races from November election remain too close to call

As a result of the recount, the official results from the Nov. 7 election show that:

— The village of Phillipsburg’s 0.5 percent municipal income tax increase failed by 1 vote.

— Perry Township’s 1.5 mill additional police levy failed by three votes

— Curt Schreier bested Jerri Letner in the Brookville city council race by 11 votes.

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

Richard Cordray brings governor campaign to Dayton

RELATED: DeWine-Husted ticket called governor’s race ‘dream team’ by GOP state senator

‘Smart car’ technology may make roads safer, but some fear data hacks

Protection orders “Not Going to stop a bullet”

Springboro residents to protest residential rezoning tonight

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 7:02 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 10:09 AM

            Residents of the Heatherwoode planned community in Springboro are planning to protest the proposed rezoning of neighboring land for residential development.TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Residents of the Heatherwoode planned community in Springboro are planning to protest the proposed rezoning of neighboring land for residential development.TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Residents of a local golf-course community are planning to oppose the proposed rezoning of neighboring land for residential development.

At 7 p.m. today, Springboro City Council is to hold a public hearing on rezoning of 2.3 acres at 1360 S. Main St., just north of the entrance to the Heatherwoode community.

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The property owners, the Daniel Family Trust, are seeking rezoning to allow the development of a 7-lot subdivision at a density, following the dedication of 0.22 acres of right-of-way along South Main Street, of 3.29 units per acre.

Shawn Hunter, president of Heatherwoode Homeowners Association board, said 50 signatures had been gathered on petitions to be presented to the council at the public hearing.

Hunter said there would be a “large contingent” representing the 212-home development also home to the city’s golf course.

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Hunter said Heatherwoode residents are concerned about the effect on their property values and traffic at rush hours and when school lets out across Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro, at the junior high school.

“A lot of people didn’t know about it,” said Hunter, who said he discovered the proposed rezoning late last month when driving to the Christmas In Springboro festival.

“We really exist to preserve the community. Part of that is preserving the property values,” Hunter said Wednesday night.

This morning, City Manager Chris Pozzuto said it was uncertain how the development would affect property values.

“I can say generally, however, that historically, through many developments around the town, property values in Springboro have always increased over time,” he said.

After reviewing the plan, Hunter said he and the board were no longer concerned about the density of the proposed development, but still worried the homes built there could be valued lower than those in Heatherwoode.

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“It’s more the uncertainties,” Hunter said. “There are no assurances in terms of what these homes will look like.”

Residents are also concerned about the effect on tree lines and creeks shared by the developments.

MORE: Wife of deceased Springboro councilman to complete term

RELATED: 3 vying for City Council seats

Hunter said he had communicated with Pozzuto and sent the city a letter Wednesday about the residents’ concerns.

“We’re anticipating a crowd,” Hunter said.

The council is not expected to vote tonight on the rezoning. The council meets at 7 p.m. at city hall, 320 W. Central Ave. in Springboro.