Friday, August 5, 2016

TMACOG Member Caucus Questions

At the TMACOG Summer Caucus and Forum with State Lawmakers held Wednesday, August 4, each of the seven caucus groups generated questions for the panel of lawmakers. Not all of the questions could be addressed in the time allotted. Read on to see what your fellow TMACOG members cited as their most important concerns for lawmakers.

County Caucus

·         It has been since 2006 since the legislature raised the state gas tax.  We very much appreciate the legislators’ investment in Ohio State highway road and bridge system, but we are neglecting the local safety of our citizens by not increasing funding for county road and bridges.  Can we expect any change in the gas or license tax to help with funding of local roads and bridges?
·         Our health departments are underfunded but are on the front lines of water quality issues.  They inspect and catch leaky septic systems.  What is the status of House Bill 58 that would allow citizens to opt out of the sewer systems?
·         Ohio legislators: Of the funding awarded to various Ohio entities, how many of these entities have a connection to water quality. Michigan legislators: what steps are being taken in Michigan regarding the water quality of the Western Lake Erie Basin?

City Caucus

·         Can local governments expect additional cuts in funding from the state or can we budget in the future based on current funding levels?
·         With the recent completion of Fort to Port, what is the state doing to help draw manufacturing jobs to this region?
·         In drawing Downtown Redevelopment Districts, can we look at expanding the criteria beyond the current 10 acres?  A typical downtown is greater than 10 acres and would need to be divided into several different districts.  How can we tweak this to better fit a city’s need?
·         Local water plants are paying millions to deal with the toxin microcystin.  What is Ohio doing to identify and reduce the largest single sources—manure and commercial fertilizer? We are allowing millions more poultry and hogs and dairy producing manure that will be land applied at about 4X the rate of commercial fertilizer—phosphorous. Will you introduce legislation for manure to be applied only at crop/agronomics need?

Village Caucus

·         What is legislature doing to modify PERS retiring hire/re-hire requirements so that it does not have an adverse effect on some of the municipality jobs, especially part-time jobs such as mayors, police, fire, wastewater/operators?
·         What is the state’s stance on vocational education instead of 4-year college? (Question from Paige Curlis, president of Risingsun Kids Council)
·         Can local governments expect additional cuts in funding from the state or can we budget in the future based on current funding levels?

Township Caucus

·         Can local governments expect additional cuts in funding from the state or can we budget in the future based on current funding levels?

·         House Bill 378 gives townships jurisdiction on interstates over traffic violations.  It was passed by the House in May.  Will the Senate take action on this legislation in the fall?

School Districts & Colleges/Universities Caucus

·         There is a statewide goal of getting 60% of the population to earn a post-high school degree by 2025.  What can the state do to promote the value of post-high school education and training?  Are there plans for a coordinated student recruitment marketing plan to promote the value of education and to tie education to jobs?

·         Why is Western Governors—an on-line higher education institution—being welcomed into Ohio to deliver “competency-based” education?  We have educational capacity here in Ohio with on-line opportunities.

·         Does the legislature fully understand the challenges of College Credit Plus across a variety of educational institutions? Is there opportunity to tweak the program going forward? Challenges include lack of advising, books, parent buy-in, and other issues.

Special Districts & Authorities

·         How are you going to work together, setting aside party affiliations, to be proactive in promoting our region?

Non-governmental Members

·         Michigan has the “Pure Michigan” marketing campaign that really promotes tourism very well and attracts many people to the state.  Ohio does not have a visible program such as this.  Is there an opportunity to team up with Michigan to promote the Great Lakes tourism and bring a bigger attention to this region of the country?

·         Brownfield redevelopment was discussed and the need for sites to be clean and ready in order to attract/keep businesses.  Will the state advocate for a clean Ohio Revitalization Fund in order to keep up with brownfield redevelopment?  Specifically, a general fund on an annual basis that communities can tap into to clean up some of the smaller sites and remain competitive.

·         The water quality issue extends beyond this region.  There should be coordination with other states and with Canada.  Is this happening? Is there any action on Great Lakes water quality on the federal level?  What, if anything, is being done to control and regulate the spreading of manure on fields?

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments |

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