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The General Assembly acted on several pieces of legislation this week that impact township government.  I am asking that you call and your state representatives and thank them for passing HB 458 out of the House and you call yours Senators to ask for their support on the bill.

Additionally, if your state rep is Rep. Combs, please call and thank him for sponsoring an amendment to SB 268 for the OTA and if your state senator is Senator Schaffer, please call and thank him for sponsoring an amendment to HB 48 for the OTA.

Finally, as noted in the HB 562 description, the capital budget bill has only passed the House.  The bill will move quickly through the Senate next week.  We will keep you updated on any changes.

HB 458 Use of Township Funds
- Permits township to use general fund moneys collected from inside millage for road and bridge purposes
- Clarifies that townships may reimburse for family health care through a spouse’s employer
- Makes findings for recovery on the health insurance issue null and void
Bill passed House 05/22/08 by a vote of 94-2 (Wachtmann and Adams voting no); pending Senate committee referral.

HB 521 Local Government Commission
- Creates a commission to develop recommendations on reforming and restructuring local government in Ohio
- Commission is charged with considering:
- consolidation or elimination of local government to achieve efficiencies;
- consolidation of local authorities authorized by the constitution or the ORC to levy a tax of any kind to reduce overhead and administrative  expenses;

        - reduction, elimination or reorganization of services or functions of local governments to achieve cost savings for taxpayers; and

        - constitutional, statutory and administrative changes necessary to reform and restructure local government to increase efficiency and  effectiveness.

- Report must be submitted to the 128th General Assembly by July 1, 2010
Bill, as it was introduced, is pending the House Local & Municipal Government and Urban Revitalization Committee.  This language was altered slightly and added as an amendment to HB 562.

HB 562 Capital Budget and Budget Corrections Bill
The General Assembly is working to pass the capital budget bill prior to the legislature going home for summer and campaign recess.  This bill includes several provisions that have an impact on township government.  Please note that the bill passed the House yesterday and it will now need to move through the Senate process.  The OTA is working with members of the Senate on several key issues.  The bill WILL HAVE CHANGES IN THE SENATE!  Please watch for additional alerts on this bill and for articles in upcoming OTA publications.  The bill includes the following measures pertaining to township government:

        language creating the Local Government Reform and Collaboration Commission (see above description)  Language in HB 562 removes the   words "consolidation and elimination" and replaces them with "reform and restructure";  OTA opposes - The OTA has submitted language to the     sponsors as an alternative to what is in the bill.  We have also submitted the language to members of the Senate and the Governor's office.

        - language permitting a township to issue or incur public obligations to provide or assist in providing grants, loans, loan guarantees or       contributions for conservation and revitalization purposes pursuant to Section 20 of Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution;  OTA supports

        - language requiring a majority vote, rather than a unanimous vote, of the township board of trustees to deny or modify township zoning         commission recommendations; OTA supports

        - language clarifying that a solid waste facility, solid waste transfer facility and construction and demolition debris facility are not public utilities       as used in ORC Chapter 519; OTA supports

        - language granting money to several township parks through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; OTA supports

        - language permitting a township over 55,000 in population to adopt a TIF resolution, prior to December 31, 2008, by majority vote; and  OTA    supports

        - language permitting fire departments in townships with a population less than 5,000 in the unincorporated territory but services a population         greater than 5,000 in both the unincorporated and incorporated territory to bargain collectively with the board of township trustees (current law       excludes townships with a population less than 5,000). OTA opposes - The OTA is working with several senators to remove this language, as this is       HB 371 that is currently stalled in the House State Government & Elections Committee.

        - language permitting residential land to be included in a JEDD as long as the residential land was not included initially and that the residential     property owners would not be subject to the municipal income tax unless they also worked within the JEDD. OTA supports

Bill passed House 05/22/08; pending Senate Finance & Financial Institutions Committee. 

Internet Auctions
- Reduces from 15 to 10 the number of days that an item is required to be posted for sale on an internet auction
- Bill would permit townships to utilize e-bay when selling unwanted, unneeded or obsolete township property
Amendment to HB 48 offered by Senator Schaffer.  Bill passed House 02/05/08; passed Senate 05/22/08; pending House concurrence.

Newspaper Publication
- Permits a township that must publish competitive bidding notices in a newspaper of general circulation to only publish one notice if the township places the notice on the township's website

- Would reduce publication costs to townships that have their own website
Amendment to SB 268, offered by Representative Combs.  Bill passed Senate 04/08/08; passed House Local & Municipal Government & Urban Revitalization Committee 05/22/08; pending full House vote and Senate concurrence.