(May 3rd 2018)
Governor John Kasich Wednesday signed into law state Rep. John M. Rogers’ (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) House Bill 122, bipartisan legislation to examine strengthening regional economic alliances and partnerships between Ohio communities and adding flexibility for cities proposing public safety ballot measures.
“As a state, we should always be exploring ways to enhance Ohio’s business climate while pursuing a development-friendly approach to fostering economic prosperity and creating good-paying jobs,” said Rogers. “The intent of this legislation is to bring leaders and decision-makers together in order to better understand the benefits and challenges of regional partnerships with respect to economic development."
This statewide Economic Development Study Committee legislation, jointly sponsored by Rep. Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick), will seek input from groups including county commissioners, township trustees, mayors, city councils, chambers of commerce and others groups to better formulate recommendations on the sharing of resources and services and establishing a regional strategy towards economic development.
“By building strong regional partnerships with one economic goal in mind - job growth - we can better focus our efforts with respect to economic prosperity while maximizing resources and saving taxpayers money,” said Rogers.
The bipartisan committee will consist of members from the both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, a designee of the governor and six non-voting members from economic development and regional planning industries.
House Bill 122 also includes language to allow a city or village the ability to enact a single property tax levy for both fire and police purposes.
“While the bill was being heard in the Senate, an ambiguity in Ohio law came to my attention that effectively prohibits municipalities from placing joint fire and police levies on the ballot,” said Rogers, noting that voters in a few municipalities in Ohio had recently passed joint levies, only to be advised by the State they were technically not authorized to do so.
“After conferring with my Democratic and Republican colleagues, it was agreed that the existing law warranted a modification to enable cities and villages greater flexibility when proposing levies. The goal of improving public safety and services should not require having to propose two separate and distinct levies when one would suffice, let alone incurring a redundant cost to do so,” said Rogers. “Additionally, the bill permits those communities where such a levy has passed to uphold the intent of the voters."
The bill will become effective July 31.