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Miami County OKs 2018 budget, but tougher times predicted in 2019

Published: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 @ 11:41 AM


            Jack Evans and fellow Miami County commissioners approved the county’s 2018 budget.
Jack Evans and fellow Miami County commissioners approved the county’s 2018 budget.

Miami County commissioners approved the county’s 2018 appropriations, saying the county had a good year financially in 2017 but expects tighter days ahead.

The overall appropriations for all county funds totaled $93.25 million and $32.27 million in the general fund, according to the plan approved last week.

The appropriations increased 3.7 percent over those in 2017 and include a 2.5 percent raise for nonunion county employees whose pay comes from general fund accounts.

RELATED: State senator to run for Miami County Commission

Commission President Jack Evans said a projected loss of $850,000 in tax income from elimination of the sales tax on Medicare services would require continued diligent monitoring of finances.

“This will make the end of this year (2018) and 2019 a real challenge at this point,” he said. County Auditor Matt Gearhardt “will certainly keep an eye on the budget and make sure we continue to run as efficiently and as painless as we have in the past,” Evans said.

Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said that 53 percent of the general fund appropriations were for law enforcement, the courts and departments affiliated or working with them and 68 percent of the increase in appropriations was in those departments.

“It was a tougher budget this year than it has been in the past,” he said.

REALTED: Miami County sheriff seeks more in budget, wants say in any cuts

The raise for employees was possible “because of the strong fiscal condition that we are currently in and the good year financially that we have had,” O’Brien said.

Commissioner Greg Simmons, noting this was his first year on the commission and in the budget process, thanked his fellow commissioners and staff for their help in answering his questions.

Among budget areas showing increases was the county coroner, where a 19 percent increase was noted. The coroner earlier this year said more dollars would be needed to cover the cost of autopsies because of more overdose deaths as well as an increase in costs from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, which does the county autopsies under contract.

As they do annually, the commissioners thanked other elected officials and department heads for their conservative approach to finances.

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2 Republicans running to fill Montgomery County Juvenile Court seat

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:34 PM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:34 PM

Two Republicans are running in the May 8 election for an open seat on the Montgomery County Juvenile Court bench.

State Rep. Jeff Rezabek is running against attorney C. Ralph Wilcoxson II. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Helen Wallace of Centerville in November.

VOTERS GUIDE: What’s on your ballot for the May 8 election?

Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Nick Kuntz is retiring.

Here’s some background information on the candidates:

Jeff Rezabek

Experience: State Representative 43rd District - 2015-present. Attorney - 1997-present. Areas of pPractice - juvenile law, guardian ad litem within Jjuvenile, domestic relations and probate courts, criminal defense, family law. Served as a substitute magistrate in Dayton Municipal Court

Education: University of Dayton - BA in psychology - 1991 University of Dayton School of Law - JD 1997

C Ralph Wilcoxson II

Experience: 25 years licensed to practice law. 12 years magistrate Juvenile Court. 14 total years as a magistrate in Ohio. Extensive community involvement related to children and families.

Education: Meadowdale High School 1982. Ohio State University 1986. St. Mary’s University School of Law 1992.

Compare the candidates in this race: Where do they stand?

We asked Rezabek and Wilcoxson what they would do if elected. Here’s a look at their responses:

Q: What are the two biggest issues facing the court?

Jeff Rezabek: 1. Energy/Innovation: I believe the court would benefit from new and creative energy so as to continue to improve on the number of programs that can change the lives of the children - and the families - that appear before it.

The court needs to be forward thinking and should work with our schools, our community, and our local businesses so as to reach out and address the various needs of the children before they come before the court. I believe juvenile court can be more successful with more robust early intervention programs.

2. Expediency: I also believe the court needs to continue to improve upon the prompt administration of decisions when it comes to objections and appeals. There are still too many delays in moving cases forward in an efficient manner, and I believe we as a court system can improve in this area.

C Ralph Wilcoxson II: Racial and ethnic disparities weaken the credibility of a justice system that purports to treat everyone equitably.

Jeff Rezabek

Across the country, and specifically in Montgomery County, Ohio juvenile justice systems are marked by disparate racial outcomes at every stage of the process, starting with more frequent arrests for youth of color and ending with more frequent secure placement.

Judicial, legal, law enforcement, justice, social service and school professionals should eliminate racial and ethnic disparities by being culturally aware and ensuring impartial and equal access to culturally-competent prevention and intervention services and treatment for youth charged with status offenses and their families.

Parental Responsibility/Accountability The U.S. Supreme Court has held that parents have a fundamental right to rear their children without undue interference by the government. (Pierce v. Society of Sisters.) The court has also indicated the right carries significant responsibility.

Q: Is the goal of juvenile justice rehabilitation or correction and why?

Jeff Rezabek: I believe the goal of juvenile court is to assist and work the children (and their families) that appear before the court as they are often in trouble or crisis.

In working with children who come before the court, we must work with that child and their family to address their specific issues.

We should strive to correct the behavior, but also be mindful of the safety of our community. Additionally, when working with the families that come before the court, we must strive to assist and work with them to effectively deal with any family issue that may have brought them to us. But we should do so in a way that keeps the best interest of the child as the forefront of any decision.

C Ralph Wilcoxson II: Rehabilitation is the goal of juvenile court. That does not mean that there cannot be some correction in the process. First let me indicate clearly that most youth issues can be addressed in the community and there is no need to place them in a detention setting.

When there is a need to remove a youth from the community to either protect the community or the child or both. We must focus our attention, and the court is in the unique position unique position to help equip and prepare them for a return to the community.

Juvenile court should be built to assist children, who have made a bad decision, make better informed decisions that will ultimately enhance the lives of their family and the health of the community.

C Ralph Wilcoxson II

Q: Should juvenile offenders, especially violent ones with convictions, get to have their names out of public records because they are juveniles?

Jeff Rezabek: I believe this is a question that needs to be resolved in the legislature with public input.

However, what can be said is that if an adjudicated child is rehabilitated and successfully works with the juvenile court (with all of the services provided), then maybe that individual child should have that second chance and not be permanently labeled for making bad decisions early in his or her life.

C Ralph Wilcoxson II: Juvenile offenders are not convicted they are found responsible. Convictions are for adults.

If the court determines that youth are not amenable to treatment and there is a compelling reason to transfer the youth and try him/her as an adult then a conviction is appropriate. If there is a conviction the names should be in the public record.

Part for the juvenile court’s charge is to protect juvenile offenders from the stigma of incarceration and the things that attach in adult court i.e. having their name in the public record. Juvenile court is different from adult court on purpose.

If we determine that kids ought to be treated as if they were adults then why have a separate juvenile division? If that is our determination then we have lost our way.

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Find out where Centerville will spend more than $4M to fix streets

Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 8:00 AM


            Centerville has started working on road improvements after voters approved a levy last year. File photo.
            FILE PHOTO
Centerville has started working on road improvements after voters approved a levy last year. File photo.(FILE PHOTO)

Centerville will move ahead with plans to improve its infrastructure, using funding from its annual street program budget to repair more than 20 of the possible 256 total lane miles in the community.

After an income tax levy passed in 2016, the city council added money to the annual street program budget, Maureen Russell Hodgson of the community resources coordinator city said. Voters approved Issue 3 in 2016, which raised the Centerville earned income tax by a half-percent to 2.25 percent.

MORE: Amid concerns, Oberer shelves plans for new homes in Sugarcreek Twp.

Funding for the 2018 Street Repair program — which includes repaving projects for more than 60 streets — has increased 68 percent from the 2016 budget, with the city planning to spend more than $4.4 million this year, according to Hodgson.

Multiple projects will be completed by the end of the year, Public Works Director Doug Spitler said.

Concrete work to repair curbs, catch basins, storm sewers and sidewalks also is underway now, Spitler said, and street work will start soon after because asphalt plants aren’t open yet.

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“If you go down Alex Bell Road and Spring Valley, they are working on concrete right now,” he said. “It will take another month or so before we see any asphalt work. We give the contractors a window of time to get the work done and most of the work is being done on residential streets. But we make sure roads are open for our Americana Festival and Fourth of July events.”

Another project includes a joint effort with Washington Twp. on West Spring Valley Road.

“Our share of the project is about $300,000,” Spitler said. “The township is the lead agency on the project since a majority of the road being worked on is in their area. But if we pave at the same time, then we get better bid prices. We’ve started doing concrete repair on the road in anticipation of resurfacing work being done later this summer.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation is also partnering with Centerville on another major street repair project. The state agency will cover up to 80 percent of a $1 million project to resurface Ohio 48 to the Greene County line.

“We pay 20 percent so our share is $200,000,” Spitler said.

He added that one more project will be completed this year involving phased work on a residential street, Bethel Road.

“We got outside funding from a Community Development Block Grant,” Spitler said. “CDBG gave us $50,000 to help do a major repair involving curb repair, catch basin repair, storm sewer repair and asphalt resurfacing and that entire project cost is about $290,000.”

Two other phases of repairs have been done on Bethel Road, he said, and the city received funding for that work as well.

“We are applying this month for more funding for another phase on that street,” Spitler said. “So we are trying to leverage our local dollars obviously as much as we can with outside funding state or federal.”

But the tax levy that was passed in 2016 has been a huge difference maker in improving the city’s infrastructure, according to Spitler.

“Council wanted to make sure that we were funding our streets adequately and we have absolutely lived up to that commitment as we are putting millions of dollars into the residential street program,” Spitler said. “We make a lot of residents happy when we can fix the infrastructure.”

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Watch Dayton City Commission candidates debate

Published: Friday, April 13, 2018 @ 11:41 AM
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 10:40 PM

Dayton Commission candidates Darryl Fairchild (left) and Daryl Ward.
Dayton Commission candidates Darryl Fairchild (left) and Daryl Ward.

Dayton City Commission candidates Darryl Fairchild and Daryl Ward took part in a debate tonight ahead of the May 8 election.

During the hour-long debate they focused on what’s next for Good Samaritan Hospital site, drugs, neighborhood needs and education.

The two are running to fill the seat of longtime commissioner Joey Williams who resigned in February.

Related: Commissioner Williams resigns 4 months after re-election

The debate was at Stivers School for the Arts, Eichelberger Theatre, 1313 East Fifth Street in Dayton.

The debate was sponsored by the Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV and Radio and the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area.

Darryl Fairchild running for Dayton Commission

The debate was moderated by WHIO-TV’s Jim Otte and Etana Jacobi of UpDayton.

VOTERS GUIDE: Compare the candidates around the region on the issues

Ward is the senior pastor at Omega Baptist Church and Fairchild is manager of chaplain services at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

This is Ward’s first run for public office. Earlier this year he was running for a seat on the Montgomery County Commission, but moved to the city commission race when Williams stepped down.

Fairchild has run for city commission twice before. He narrowly lost a seat to newcomer Chris Shaw in 2015, but was defeated by a much larger margin by incumbent commissioners Williams and Jeff Mims Jr. last year.

The Dayton Daily News, WHIO and the League of Women are sponsoring the debate to help educate voters before Election Day.

Daryl Ward running for Dayton Commission

“The mission of the League is to provide nonpartisan information to voters on candidates and issues they can use when they cast their ballot. Dayton is the hub of the Greater Dayton Area, we feel this is an important race for the city, its residents and the extended community, said Dayton Area LWV Executive Director Susan Hesselgesser.

VOTERS GUIDE: Compare Dayton City Commission candidates on the issues facing the city

We asked both Ward and Fairchild a series of questions for our voters guide. You can find all of their answers at vote.daytondailynews.com

Here’s a look at some of their answers as submitted by the candidates:

Q: What are the two biggest challenges facing the city and how would you deal with them?

Darryl Fairchild: 1) A year after passing a levy to increase taxes, the city announced they were still having funding issues and that there are structural problems with the budget. The loss of Commissioner Williams, who was perceived to bring fiscal discipline to the commission, raises concerns about the financial well-being of the city. I will bring my experience and tough mindedness, developed from being an executive director, 12-year board member of the Otterbein Homes, and current commissioner of Great Dayton Premier Management to monitor our fiscal decisions.

2) A majority of residents do not feel safe in their own neighborhood. The social fabric in many of our neighborhoods is so frayed that we do not have the deep relationships that create community. As commissioner, I will champion our residential neighborhoods, support new, local economic initiatives, and advocate for our children and youth. We need a clear plan to bring focus, set priorities, and recruit resources to address these issues.

Daryl Ward: Education and out of school activities for young people. Need a network of out of school sites that can hold all of us accountable for our future neighborhoods need housing and street maintenance, safety and security, unity.

Q: How will you work with the schools to improve education in the city?

Darryl Fairchild: We need our students, school district and new superintendent to be successful. Unfortunately, parents and the general public do not have confidence in the school district demonstrated by the student population loss. Likewise, the majority of our charter schools are failing our students too.

As the only candidate or commissioner with a student in Dayton Public Schools, I bring a unique perspective to education. Additionally, I have been active in working with other parents to voice concerns, offer solutions, and work for improvement.

I would use my collaboration skills to bring parties together and to bridge the mistrust created by the untimely reduction in force, the miscommunication between the city and DPS regarding levies, the prolonged contract negotiations, and the controversial appointment of a task force.

Additionally, I will work with community leaders to restore a shared commitment to education - students, parents, residents and leaders.

Daryl Ward: Get behind the new superintendent and board to partner with the other churches and community organizations to make change.

I am a Big brother in the big brother big sister organization. I have been working with my little brother for about four years. When I have done best with him I have set the expectations higher than anyone else around him. And he surpassed my expectations.! But we must surround our children with positive activities and experiences. Because achievement will fade if not enforced.

Let’s create a network of churches and other community organizations to support our children with out of school activities and recreation.

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VOTERS GUIDE ONLINE

Our team reached out to the local candidates on the ballot May 8 to help you be an informed voter.

Go to vote.daytondailynews.com to see what candidates and issues are on your ballot May 8. There you will find coverage for races including governor, U.S. Senate and Congress, statehouse, county races and more.

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Opposition cools talk of relocating new Warren County jail

Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 6:40 AM


            Architect Garry McAnally was sent back to the drawing board after unveiling potnetial designs for the new Warren county Jail. STAFF PHOTO BY LAWRENCE BUDD
Architect Garry McAnally was sent back to the drawing board after unveiling potnetial designs for the new Warren county Jail. STAFF PHOTO BY LAWRENCE BUDD

The new Warren County jail is expected to be built near the existing facilities in the county government complex in Lebanon, according to the county commissioners who are to make the decision.

Talk of instead building a new jail off Ohio 63 and Markey Road on Lebanon’s west side at last Tuesday’s meeting prompted a backlash, according to Commissioner Dave Young.

RELATED: 6 options, 2 locations weighed for new Warren County Jail

The land is near expensive new homes and the city’s western gateway, expected to see development for homes and businesses in coming decades.

MORE: Lebanon maps future of 500 acres

On Friday, Young said he, Sheriff Larry Sims and a group put together to advise the commissioners met with the jail architect after the public discussion with the commissioners.

“My primary goal is to build the new facility contiguous to the existing one. And I think we’re going to be able to do it,” Young said.

Young said architects Wachtel & McAnally were tasked with developing a different plan, opening up space in the complex by razing maintenance garages.

Sims has been pressing for a new facility for two years. Last week, he said “Last September” when asked when he wanted to begin designing the new facility.

RELATED: Sheriff calls for faster action

On Monday, commissioners Tom Grossmann and Shannon Jones agreed the county complex seemed like the best place for the $50 million jail expected to hold more than 450 inmates and provide adequate space for decades.

RELATED: Warren County hires new architect for jail project

“I’m not considering anything else,” said Grossmann, while holding out for a design that would enable future expansion.

“I don’t want to create a problem in the future,” he said.

Jones joined the other two commissioners in favoring the complex area, but said she awaited the architect’s design and plans for relocating the maintenance facilities.

“With every action, there’s a reaction,” she said.

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