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Published: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 @ 11:45 AM
The Warren County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday postponed approval of $700,000 in federal funding this year for a variety of projects due to questions about the funding program’s future.
The board closed the second public hearing required before designating which projects are to be funded through community development block grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“At this point, HUD has not told us what our allocation is,” Susanne Mason, the county’s grants administrator, said during the hearing, required by federal law.
RELATED: No federal grant for Franklin museum
Typically local governments hear from HUD by February about how much money will actually be available for the block grants, Mason said.
This year, Mason said there was no word on funding or whether the Trump administration would cut this HUD program, as proposed during the presidential election.
If funded, Lebanon would receive the most, $277,900 for road work on Cambridge Court, Georgetown Drive, Raintree Trail and Winding Way.
Franklin Twp. is to receive $160,000 for Harriet and Olive avenues and Mentz Road repairs.
The county planned to use $90,000 for program administration.
In addition, the county planned to provide through HUD:
$64,500 for housing and feeding the homeless through the Interfaith Hospitality Network;
$60,000 to Deerfield Twp. for engineering on Davis Court and Rich Road;
$42,000 to the Abuse and Rape Crisis Shelter of Warren County for housing assistance for victims of domestic violence;
$19,145 to the Village of Butlerville for a playground update.
In response to a question from Commissioner Shannon Jones, Mason said she had notified the proposed recipients of the status of their application for funding.
“They know what our intentions are,” Mason said.
With Commissioner Dave Young absent, Jones and Commissioner Tom Grossmann gave the nod to support plans by the county’s economic development office to lobby for the program.
Last month, the Trump administration proposed budgets for federal agencies including HUD.
“The blueprint reflects the President’s commitment to support HUD’s critical functions that provide rental assistance to low-income and vulnerable households and to help work-eligible families achieve self-sufficiency. It also recognizes a greater role for State and local governments, and the private sector to address community and economic development needs. ” according to a press release.”A more detailed program-by-program budget proposal will be announced in May.”
In addition to the block grants, HUD which has a budget of about $50 billion, provides rental assistance and promotes home ownership through the Federal Housing Administration. FHA underwrites about one in six mortgages issued in the U.S. and enforces federal fair housing laws.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:43 AM
MASSIE TWP. — 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.
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.
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.
A larger district qualifies for more grants, McKinney said.
The Massie Twp department operates on a $92,000 budget from two levies.
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 could not be immediately reached.
Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 9:33 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 1:32 PM
DAYTON — 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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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 HULSEYTweets by @LynnHulseyDDN
Published: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 @ 9:50 PM
LEBANON — 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.
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.
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.
Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 10:35 AM
SPRINGBORO — The Springboro City Council tonight approved, with conditions, rezoning and the general plan for 2.3 acres at 1360 S. Main Street in Springboro.
The housing development, to be known as Streamside at Heatherwoode, had been opposed by residents of the 212-home Heatherwoode community.
The land for the proposed development is just north of the entrance to Heatherwoode, which features the city-owned golf course.
The proposed development’s property owners, the Daniel Family Trust, want to develop a 7-lot subdivision.
Staff and the planning commission have recommended approval.
On Thursday, the council - except Mayor John Agenbroad, who recused himself because he lives across Main Street, Ohio 741 in Springboro, from the development area - discussed the issue before the formal meeting to consider issues that included the association formed to represent the residents of the development and liability for its maintenance.
Heatherwoode residents have expressed concern about the new homeowners being represented by a separate homeowners association.
As a condition of approval, the council required the developer to work out questions about the homeowners association before breaking ground.
City Manager Chris Pozzuto also emphasized that the developer would need to meet other guidelines before winning permission to begin construction.
The conditional approval was passed by council after a work session but before arrival of the developer’s representatives and all but one of the Heatherwoode residents attending the meeting.