County commissioners and engineers from 13 counties in Northwest Ohio got a taste of “loving life and living rural” in Morrow County.
Forty-six attended the Northeast Ohio Commissioners and Engineers Association at Mount Gilead State Park Monday. Those attending came from as far as Port Clinton in Ottawa County and Bryan in Williams County.
The officials spent most of the morning business meeting hearing updates on the progress of the state budget. Budgets in every county in the state would be affected with the loss of sales tax from Medicaid-funded managed healthcare corporations.
Kate Neithammer, policy analyst for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio called Morrow County Commissioner Tom Whiston “a warrior on the issue to replace the loss of managed care sales tax.”
Whiston is on the CCAO Policy Committee and the commissioners are asking for a final push to find a solution to replace this sales tax on managed care health insurance. As reported in the Sentinel July 8, 2016, Morrow County would lose $485,000 or about 12 percent from the general fund with the loss of this tax.
Julie Eheman from Shelby County urged officials to call their state senators and representatives and to encourage others in their communities to call legislators and Gov. John Kasich. The need is for a permanent solution for the loss of funds. One solution discussed was the Dolan-Seitz amendment that would bring a permanent solution by increasing managed care insurance franchise fees.
Both Eheman and Neithammer emphasized the next few days are critical on how state legislators decide to deal with the elimination of the sales tax revenue stream to counties. Final legislative action is expected this week. They anticipate that Gov. Kasich will veto the plan for replacement, but hope the legislature will override his veto.
Other legislative issues for the state budget included three requests for jails. A request was made for reimbursement for psychotropic drugs and funding for mental health and stabilization centers.
Funding of $30 million was requested for Child Services due to the opiate crisis, although only $15 million made it into the budget. Funds were also asked for the purchase of voting equipment and 50 percent reimbursement for counties to fund indigent defense.
An update on county employee health insurance and benefits was also on the agenda
The business meeting was part of a full day of activities and tours for the group. Afternoon tours included Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Cardinal Center.
Whiston gave a brief review of Morrow County’s history and spoke with pride of the three “world-class” businesses in the county that include Cardinal Center, Flying Horse Farm and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.