Summer Caucus and Lawmakers Forum
The Summer Caucuses and Lawmakers Forum for TMACOG members was held at Owens Community College on August 12. More than 80 members attended representing 45 jurisdictions, schools, agencies, and districts.
Report on Caucus Sessions | Notes on Lawmakers Forum
Non-Governmental Members and Special Districts & Authorities caucused together
- How can schools be funded after recent budget rollbacks without passing the cost on to the tax payers?
- How can the State encourage an economic development/branding message to attract young professionals to move to or to stay in Ohio?
- How can we provide more funding for workforce development to attract new companies to the state or region; and also provide training for people in the state/region who are unemployed or under-employed due to lack of needed skills/training.
- Can the state provide more venture capital not only to create new businesses, but to expand/improve existing businesses?
- It’s important to protect natural assets to promote tourism as well as to make the region attractive for businesses.
The Township Caucus
- How do we best handle nuisance/abandoned properties?
- Tips for using social media to pass information to citizens.
- Should there be more stringent requirements for the elected position of Township Fiscal Officer? Currently the position requires no training.
- Trustees need more information on records retention - how to handle years or decades worth of records.
- There is pressure to share services or cooperate between jurisdictions but there are limitations to sharing services.
The Cities Caucus
- Changes to Inheritance Tax, Homestead Exemption, other state rules mean that cities have fewer resources as cost of providing local services continues to rise.
- General discussion about standardizing tax collection for people who work in several jurisdictions.
- Continued strong support for the regional water discussion was shown as was a consensus to keep politics out of the discussion.
- Most cities reported that their budgets are balanced due to staff reductions and working harder to collect monies owed.
- Cities saw value in outsourcing several services including trash collection and mowing.
- Consistent concern in cities big and small about the quality of education for children and the state’s commitment to true public education.
The Village Caucus shared many of the same interest as the City Caucus. Additional concerns included:
- Regional shared services opportunities.
- ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evade) training (active shooter training in schools, etc.).
- Alternative energy sources in public buildings.
- Code enforcement – speed zones by ODOT, managing vacant properties, etc.
- Economic development opportunities.
- What is the likelihood of Medicaid reform.
- Can rules be changed to allow the use of technology for meetings? Implementing social media or video conferencing will save money and travel time.
- Loss of revenue to counties is breaking the state-county relationship. Can funding be at least indexed to inflation? Specifically gas tax, license plates, and inspection fees.
- Ways to reduce costs in law enforcement: County crime scene investigators collaborate with the City of Toledo to save money. Officers on the street can issue a summons vs. arresting someone for a non-violent crime. This saves money. In Lucas County their prison guards are paying their own way through a course that will make them deputies.
- Ask state legislators for help in monitoring what’s going into Lake Erie. The lake is needed for drinking, recreation, and the overall image of the area.
- The process for ditch petitions is antiquated. Look into getting the code revised to make the process more streamlined and cost-effective.
School Districts and Colleges/Universities Caucus
- Unfunded mandate for testing and evaluation are costing primary schools great expense in money and time.
- There are different standards for traditional public schools and charter schools, and Educational Service Centers (ESCs) play a role in attracting children to the charter schools.
- Shared services could include bus service, and property and casualty insurance.
- On-line courses could be a collaboration between schools, for certain foreign languages for example.
- It’s critical that Head Start be funded to prepare students for kindergarten.
- Four-year colleges are becoming reluctant to accept students who need remedial course work; community colleges must accept them.