Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Pat Manger, Clermont County Engineer

Pat announced an “Eastern Cooridor Meeting” will be held tonight in Milford from 6-8pm. All are welcome.

Pat shared about the following upcoming projects:
-Eastgate North Frontage Road beginning to be completed by Thanksgiving. This will improve the current frontage road, fix the entrance to Eastgate Mall and create access on and off of 32 to allow them to improve the on and off ramps connecting Eastgate Boulevard and 32.

-Eastgate Boulevard beginning in the spring of 2013. This will widen Eastgate Boulevard, widen the bridge, and widen the on and off ramps to 32.

-US 50/SR 131 Milford Parkway beginning in 2013. This will improve the intersection at SR 131, US 50 and Milford Parkway. They will add turn lanes, extend the northbound merge land on SR 131 to accommodate two EB left hand turn lanes from US 50.

-Clermont ITS Phase 2 beginning Spring 2013. Currently, our 14 signal system along 32 operates independently. The plan is to network the entire system and to create a central traffic management center.

-Stonelick Covered Bridge beginning October 2012. This will restore the bridge providing enough capacity for school bus and emergency vehicle passage. It will be posted at 8 ton carrying capacity.

-Clough Pike Widening beginning Spring 2013. This will reconstruct Clough Pike from Glen Este Withamsville Rd to Mt Carmel Tobasco Rd, add a center turn land, add a curb, widen paved shoulders and improve turns at Mt Carmel Tobasco. A sidewalk will be constructed on the north side.

Pat also gave a quick update on the following:
-The projects currently underway on 28 in front of K-Mart will wrap up by the end of August.
-The project currently underway at 28 and 275 will wrap up in the Spring of 2013.
-The ODOT projects involving 275 and 32 will begin in 2014.
-There are also future plans to eventually eliminate the traffic signals along 32.

Next week we will do our spaghetti dinner planning.

What We Learned at This Week's Meeting

Today (7/24) we heard from Chuck Tilbury of the Clermont County Auditor's Office.

Chuck shared several facts about our county revenues and expenses.
-Not much is changing on the expense side.
-The revenues are up and stable, partly due to a 4.5-5% increase in sales tax revenue.
-In 2013 revenues are not anticipated to increase very much at all.
-Currently, sales tax is 6.5% of which 5.5% goes to the state and 1% goes to the county.
-Real Estate revenue is down a bit for 2012 and should stay about the same for the next 3 years.

The county is in the process of looking toward the 2013 budget year. By July 20, all county entities must submit a tax budget to the auditor's office.

Someone asked a question regarding casino revenue. Casino tax is based upon the “gross wagers” within the casino which is similar to a sales tax. These gross wagers are taxed at about 30% and all 88 counties share in the revenue generated by the tax on these wagers. The tax will not go to the municipalities but directly to the counties. The first distribution took place recently, and Clermont County received around $160k. It is anticipated the annual revenue for our county could reach $500k.

Chuck also shared about property taxes which are measured in “millage”. For example, 1 Mil = 1/10 of 1%. So, for every $1000 in valuation this equals $1 in tax. The county assesses at 35% of market value which means that for a $100k property, the assessed value would be $35k. There are 54 districts in our county, each with their own millage. The constitution only allows tax payers to be taxed up to 10 mils unless we vote to allow more. As values go up, the county reduces the millage rate, however when values go down, the millage goes up.

When a municipality desires to put a tax levy on the ballot to raise the millage, they must submit a resolution of necessity to the auditor's office. If this is approved, it goes back to the entity for final approval and is resubmitted to the auditor's office and the board of elections to be added to the ballot. The deadline to get something on the ballot is 75 days prior to the election.

The auditor is responsible for valuing properties. They do this by examining sales ratios and what is happening in the market place. This information is compared across the county to see if the values should be changed. Every few years they must actually go and “touch” the property to assess their valuation. During the last update, our county lost about 10% in property values. We are still a fairly rural county in which only 25% of our property values are commercial and industrial. Much more about the 2011 triennial update & tax information can be found here.

Next week we will hear from Pat Manger Clermont County Engineer who will speak about our county transportation system.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What We Learned At This Week's Meeting

Today we heard from Jeff Higgins who is the founder of Savor Seasonings, a food flavoring company located right here in Batavia. The mission of Savor Seasonings is “Serve Others” and Jeff feels his faith calls him to do this with his life. In fact, when work is slow, they will pay their 15 employees to spend a day serving such community organizations as Matthew 25 Ministries or Habitat for Humanity.

A few people might know Cincinnati (also the east coast, Chicago and Paris) is a hub for food flavoring and many products needed for this industry are sold locally. Savor Seasonings makes about 1.5 million pounds of seasonings per year which will season around 15 million pounds of snacks. A typical minimum order might be 1000 pounds and a large order might be around 40,000 pounds.

The company works with nearly 300 different ingredients and are constantly trying all sorts of new recipe ideas. Jeff shared how some of the ingredients are similar but are used in unique ways. For example, the typical snack needs to taste good when you first bite into it, in the middle of the bite and at the end. They use three different types of salt to achieve this effect. Jeff says he loves their research and development process very much. In fact, many mornings are spent getting together and trying out new snacks. They work hard in other areas such as pest control as well as safety and security to ensure their products do not become tainted.

Jeff's father got into the flavoring business years ago and started his own business. Eventually, Jeff began working with his father and eventually began his own business. He loves both the analytical and creative side of this business. Jeff's biography can be found here.

Next week we will have our club assembly to discuss ideas to build upon our club achievements.