Local Govt. Fund takes hit

HUBER HEIGHTS — On June 22, the Huber Heights City Council expressed its concern about a potential reduction in Local Government Funds proposed in the Ohio Senate budget bill. At that meeting, Council commissioned City Manager Rob Schommer to write a letter to Ohio Senator Peggy Lehner the next day indicating that Council voted to stand against the proposed changes to Sub H.B. 64 and encouraged her to vote against any amendment that would further reduce revenues to Huber Heights.

“Since 2008, Huber Heights has experienced a loss of nearly $14 million in revenues due to State governmental changes,” wrote Schommer. “One primary and significant loss was the reduction of 50 percent to the Local Government Fund by the State.”

“…The City of Huber Heights continues to battle the effects of the State Legislature over the past several years which includes passage of HB5, continuous cuts to the Local Government Fund, and the elimination of estate and tangible personal property taxes,” also wrote Schommer.

The vote on June 30 related to the state budget was not what city leaders had hoped for. According to Huber Heights Finance Director Jim Bell, the estimated loss for the second half of this year could be up to $23,500. For 2016, he said the loss could be $54,000 and for the first half of 2017, it could be a loss of $30,436. The two-year combined estimated loss could be $108,000.

Bell told Council this would be another hit as the city has had “significant hits” in the past. He said the city now collects an estimated $453,000 compared to $800,000 to $900,000 a year a few years ago.

“Those are going to be real losses for us,” said Bell, of the legislation which took effect July 1.

He said this seems to be “terribly unfair.”

“The reason I believe it’s unfair is because in this budget, they are specifically taking money from medium and larger cities and passing that money on to small villages of a population under 1000 and townships,” said Bell. “If there were an across the board cuts to all cities, villages and townships, then I can understand that if the dollars were proven to be needed by the state, which two years ago, they were trying to come up with enough dollars to fund…a deficit, and now, their rainy day fund has over $3 billion as a balance. So, why can’t they take a portion of that rainy day fund balance…and give some of the Local Government Fund money back to the cities and villages and townships?”

“To find out the Senate President feels municipalities like Huber Heights should experience even more reductions to subsidize townships, villages and the State’s “rainy day fund” is simply unacceptable,” wrote Schommer.