Hello, Hamilton County

     E-News for Hamilton County Citizens and Employees

February 7, 2001

  Quote of the Week:  Well done is better than well said.  - Benjamin Franklin
 

Project THAW offers assistance with Home Heating Bills

On January 22, Governor Taft announced “Project Thaw,” a one-time payment of up to $250 to help with heating bills for people with income up to 200 percent of Federal Poverty Level. The program is in effect until March 31, 2001.

Through the collective efforts of Cinergy-CG&E, Hamilton County Human Services, Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency and various social service agencies, Hamilton County residents began applying late last week.  An estimated 75,000 local residents may be eligible for this program.  

“Project Thaw” is available throughout Ohio, and funding is limited.  The program ends when the funds run our or on March 31, 2001 which ever comes first.  This program is “first come-first served.”  All eligible Hamilton County residents are welcome to apply, but there is no guarantee all eligible residents  will get help due to the limited funding. Citizens who apply and get payment will actually see a credit on their Cinergy-CG&E bill

Thanks to our many community partners, a convenient approach has been used to make applications widely available in the community and allows people to mail in completed applications.  Three options:   

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Pick up the one-page application at all ten Cinergy offices, all 42 branches of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Community Action Agency sites, and the Hamilton County Department of Human Services starting Monday.  Instructions for completing and mailing the application are on the back.  There’s one address if your primary heating supplier is Cinergy-CG&E--another address if you use another provider for heating oil, propane, or wood.

 

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Access the application at http://www.hamilton-co.org/dhs or through a special Project THAW "button" on the Hamilton County Homepage.  Print out, complete, and mail the application as directed in the instructions.  (Due to proof of income required to apply, on-line application is not available.) 

 

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Older people or those with disabilities who cannot pick up an application should call 751-2624.  A representative of CAA will deliver an application to them.

  

Important points about “Project Thaw”: 

                        (1)       You must have an unpaid heating bill.  Project Thaw will not reimburse payments already made.

                        (2)       Your income must be below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level--about $16,700 per year for a single adult and about $34,100 per year for a family of four.  It is important that applicants remember to provide proof of income with their applications.

                        (3)       This is a one-time payment of half the cost of your unpaid heating bill, up to a maximum of $250.

At the February 7 Board of County Commissioners meeting, Department of Human Services staff reported that over 1,500 applications had been processed through the end of business on February 6 with an average payout to citizens of $198.76.  Thousand more are expected to come in over the next couple days.  An estimated 100,000 applications have been distributed including 52 direct deliveries to shut-ins thanks to the Community Action Agency.  A big thank you goes out to all of the partners that have helped distribute and process these applications.

 

Health & Hospitalization Levy recommended as possible May Ballot issue
In recent weeks, the Tax Levy Review Committee has been evaluating the proposed Health and Hospitalization Levy, which expires at the end of this year.  The Board of County Commissioners has received a request that the levy be placed on the the May ballot.  The Health and Hospitalization Levy primarily helps fund hospital care at the University of Cincinnati and Children's Hospitals for those who cannot pay for services.  The Tax Levy Review Committee is a volunteer citizen panel that advises the Board of County Commissioners about proposed levy issues.  The Tax Levy Review Committee process was shortened due to the timing of the levy request and the deadline for placing it on the ballot.  The committee felt it could undertake the review with less time due to other reviews that have taken place during the levy period (1997-2001).  During this time, a contract was put in place with the University of Cincinnati Hospital (the lead administrator of levy funds) which includes a performance review by an outside evaluator and monthly reviews by County staff.

As the first increase in 10 years, the proposed levy increase of 35% is less than the inflationary increase that has taken place in hospitalization costs during the same 10-year period.  A homeowner with a  house valued at $100,000 currently pays approximately $50 per year for the Health and Hospitalization Levy and would pay an additional $15 per year if the levy was passed by voters.  After several meetings in the past three weeks, the Tax Levy Review Committee voted to recommend the levy be placed on the May ballot at the requested amount.  In making their recommendation, the committee stated that the levy fills a great need in the community.  Committee members noted that even with the levy increase the hospitals will be providing care for the needy far in excess of what the levy will generate.  Two committee members opposed the recommendation stating they wished to have more time to review the request and related issues.  The Tax Levy Review Committee recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners this week.  The Board will make the decision about placing the levy on the ballot in the next two weeks.  The deadline for submitting the levy for the May ballot is February 22.

 

Clean Air Calendar Contest gives young artists an opportunity to show their stuff
Each year since 1994, the Regional Ozone coordinates a Clean Air Kick-Off Event to recognize the beginning of smog season in the Greater Cincinnati area.  Smog levels are monitored April 1st through October 31st.   

 

During these months, smog levels are at their highest due to weather conditions combined with area pollution.  The largest source of pollution produced in our area comes from automobiles (about 45%). Smaller percentages of pollution comes from consumer sources (such as gasoline-powered lawn equipment) and industrial sources. 

To increase the community's awareness of smog in our area and to encourage residents to take actions to reduce the amount of pollution produced, the Regional Ozone Coalition is coordinating the First of what it hopes will become an annual event, the Do Your Share For Cleaner Air Calendar Contest.  By involving students and educating them on the importance of clean air, we will all begin to breathe easier by reducing air pollution in our area.  Each person can make a difference and with with your participation, you can educate and involve the community on the importance of clean air!

The Do Your Share For Clean Air Calendar Contest is sponsored by the Regional Ozone Coalition is cooperation with Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, Kentucky Division of Air Quality, Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, City of Cincinnati Office of Environmental Management, and Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department.  The contest is open to student in grade k-12 from the following Ohio and Kentucky counties:

Ohio:  Hamilton, Butler, Clermont, and Warren

Kentucky:  Boone, Campbell, and Kenton

 

Contest Requirements

bulletStudents must create a brightly colored entry illustrating one of the following air quality messages: (1) The "Do Your Share For Cleaner Air" slogan, (2) One of the many tips for smog reducing activities or (3) Why clean air is important to our health. 

bulletThe entry must be flat (one dimensional), no pasted items.

bulletThe entry must be in color using pencils, crayons, markers or paints.

bulletCANNOT use trademarks or computer-generated artwork.

bulletPaper size should measure 8.5 x 11.

Contest Rules

The Do Your Share For Cleaner Air calendar contest entries will only be judged against entries in the same grade level throughout the seven counties in Kentucky and Ohio. One winner will be selected from each grade level.  Entries must be submitted on or before April 2, 2001 to:

         Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments
         801-B West Eighth Street, Suite 400
         Cincinnati, OH 45203-1607
         ATTN: Sarah Woller

Please contact Sarah Woller at (513) 621-6300 ext. 141 with any questions.

Information is also available through the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services website: 

 http://www.hcdoes.org/

 

Winners and Awards

Thirteen calendar contest winners (one from each grade) will receive a $50 savings bond (value upon maturity). Additionally, teachers of the winners will receive a $25 gift certificate for classroom use. The 13 winning entries will be featured in a calendar to be distributed to schools and organizations throughout Kentucky and Ohio.

Contest Application Information

April 2, 2001    ALL ENTRIES DUE on or before this date to OKI Regional Council of                         Governments.

April 16, 2001  WINNERS ANNOUNCED.

June 9, 2001    PRIZES AWARDED AT THE CLEAN AIR FUN RUN EVENT, CALENDERS
                      DISTRIBUTED TO WINNERS.

 

MSD Symposium Yields Scholarship
Proceeds from the I/I (Inflow/Infiltration) Symposium held at The University of Cincinnati (UC) in September 2000 will be used for a onetime Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati scholarship.  The $3,500 MSD Scholarship will be earmarked for a UC Environmental or Geotechnical student based on merit, academics, and need.  University professors will decide to whom the scholarship will be awarded.

As part of MSD’s continuing effort to reduce I/I, MSD conducted a Groundwater Study to characterize the groundwater around the sewer and determine how the groundwater enters the sewer.  Part of the detailed scope of this project was a comprehensive literature review of similar studies.  “We found several papers that were outstanding and we invited those people to speak at our conference,” states Susan Moisio, Principal Engineer for the MSD System Wide Modeling Project Office.  UC professors working on the Groundwater Study were also invited to give an update on the project.

I/I happens when stormwater gets into the sanitary sewer and uses up its capacity.  Ideally, sanitary sewers are designed to flow half full.  When I/I enters the sanitary sewer the excess water can cause the sewer to backup and overflow.  Excessive I/I can seriously impact a municipality’s sanitary sewer system.  I/I effects sanitary sewer overflows, basement flooding and treatment plant bypasses.  The Symposium provided an overview of planning, rehabilitation, and effectiveness of I/I abatement programs for remediation of sanitary sewer overflows.

Dr. Mark Bowers, PhD, University of Cincinnati did the literature review that consisted of information from all over America and Canada.  Dr. Bowers contacted each of the selected speakers and asked them to participate in the Symposium.

Dr. Milovan Beljin, President of M.S. Beljin & Associates and Dr. David Nash, Professor of Geology, at UC were participants in the study as well as speakers at the Symposium.  Other speakers involved in the Symposium were; Mrs. Susan Moisio, Principal Engineer for the System Wide Model Project, Wastewater Collection Division; Mr. Edward H. Burgess, PE, Associate and Project Director, Camp Dresser & McKee; Mr. Robert Kuhl, PE, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago; Mr. George E. Kruz, PE, Consoer Townsend Envirodyne Engineers, Nashville Tennessee; Mr. Dan Murray, PE, Director of Technology Transfer, USEPA, Office of Research and Development; and Mr. Rod Thornhill, PE, President of White Rock Consultants, Dallas Texas.

The symposium was possible due to the cooperation of The University of Cincinnati and H.C. Nutting Company.  UC handled all of the arrangements for the conference including contacting and scheduling speakers, donating the hall, and catering lunch. The I/I Symposium was held in the U C Engineering Research Center Auditorium.  H.C. Nutting produced the flyers and put together the binders for the conference.

 

Public Administrator of the Year Nominations being accepted
Each year the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration sponsors the Public Administrator of the Year awards.  Awards are given in three categories:  career achievement, service innovator, and early careerist.  Nominations are due February 16th.  For nomination forms contact Eric Stuckey in the County Administrator's Office (946-4432) or Cheryl Hilvert, Montgomery City Manager at 891-2424.
 

 

CCAO Deferred Compensation Program has new phone number
The CCAO Deferred Compensation Program recently announced a new phone number.  The new number is 1-800-284-0444, extension 56.  The account representative for Hamilton County is Athena Masuda.  If you have any other questions, contact Kim Pennekamp in County Personnel at 946-4705.

 

Have a Great Week!

 

Hello, Hamilton County is published twice each month.  It is placed on both the County's internal and external Web pages.  It is design to enlighten and inform both citizens and employees of Hamilton County.  If you have questions or suggestions for future editions, contact Sharon Booker (946-4428) or Eric Stuckey (946-4432) in the County Administrator's Office or e-mail to eric.stuckey@hamilton-co.org.