Hello, Hamilton County

 

  E-News for Hamilton County Citizens and Employees

November 28, 2001

  Quote of the Week:  "The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving."   - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
 

County Administration makes difficult budget recommendations for 2002

This week, Hamilton County administration presented to the Board of County Commissions (BOCC) the recommended budget for 2002.  Calling this the most difficult budget in his 10 years with Hamilton County, County Administrator Dave Krings described in detail the proposed spending plan to Commissioners.  While County leaders had expected 2002 to be difficult budget year for the past several months, the challenge was made far more difficult due to severe cuts in State revenue announced within the past month.  The total reduction in state revenue cuts to Hamilton County is in excess of $100 million.  The state continues to struggle to address school funding and ever growing Medicaid costs.  In addition to State cuts, the County budget is also feeling the impact of a slowing local economy and the after effects of civil rest in the community earlier this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

County Administrator David Krings presented the recommended 2002 Budget to Commissioners this week.

 

Overall, the recommended budget is balanced and does not include any layoffs.  "The budget is balanced. That's the good news," stated County Administrator Krings.  "It is difficult to present a budget that includes fee increases as well as cuts in service.  We are cutting good programs that serve good people, not because we don't think the programs work, but because we simply don't have the money."

Among the hardest hit areas is the Department of Job and Family Services.  The recommended 2002 budget for the department is $34 million less than the 2001 budget. To balance the budget, significant cuts are recommended in existing contracts and within the department's non-personnel spending.  Non-mandated services within the department are suggested for elimination or significant reduction.  Furthermore, the County has been told that it can no longer expect to receive $20-30 million in human services funding annually that was generated through an end of the fiscal year "reconciliation" process. 

The County's General Fund budget is also significantly reduced.  The recommended General Fund 2002 budget for ongoing operations is over $16 million less than the current budget.  The General Fund has been hit hard by a decrease in sales tax revenue, the State reduction in local government funding, and reduced court fine revenue.  To meet these challenges, the County administration has recommended reduced expenditures and revenue enhancement measures such as increase of the real estate transfer tax and increased building and zoning fees, which have not changed for several years.

The budget also includes a proposed 6% rate increase for Metropolitan Sewer District services.  This rate increase had been anticipated as a part of last year's rate adoption.

Commissioners will be working on the budget over the next month and hope to adopt the 2002 budget by late December.  

 

 

Commissioners draw 16 winners of Bengals Suite Ticket Drawing

At today's meeting, the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners selected by random drawing 16 area residents to see a Cincinnati Bengals game from a suite at Paul Brown Stadium (PBS).  During the past month, Hamilton County has
At this morning meeting, Commissioners drew names of winners of tickets for a Bengals games in December.

partnered with major shopping malls within the county to give those who pay county sales tax a chance to see a Bengals game from a PBS suite.  Citizens were able to register for the drawing at Kenwood, Northgate, and Tower Place Malls.  Nearly 1,000 entries were received for the drawing.  The drawing will provide 16 winners and a guest an opportunity to see one of two Bengals games in December (December 2nd vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers or December 30th vs. Pittsburgh Steelers). 

“Hamilton County taxpayers stepped up to make Paul Brown Stadium happen,” stated Commission President John Dowlin. “I’m pleased that the County will be giving something back to citizens.” 

“Through the drawing we will be able to give citizens a chance to see this outstanding facility in use,” stated Commissioner Tom Neyer, Jr. “This is one way to say ‘thank you’ to the taxpayer who paid for its construction.”

Commissioner Todd Portune stated,  “Those who pay sales tax in Hamilton County made Paul Brown Stadium possible and it is appropriate they have a chance to enjoy an event at the stadium.”

Hamilton County will provide the use of its suite at Paul Brown Stadium for the use of citizens selected through the drawing.  The County’s suite will accommodate 16 people for each game allowing eight individual winners and their guest to attend each game.  The County will also provide food and soft drinks.  In the past the County has provided the suite for use by foster families, citizen volunteers, the County’s Employees of the Year, and volunteer instructors in the County’s employee training program.

 

 

Purchasing Staff earns Professional Certifications

The Universal Public Purchasing Certification Council  has awarded  four Hamilton County employees with two different certifications.  Purchasing Director Amy Hoh received the Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) certification designation.  While Maureen Witwer, Joann Cramer and Gina Richmond became Certified Public Professional Buyer (CPPB).
Four members of the County Purchasing received professional certifications (L to R: Amy Hoh, Maureen Witwer, JoAnn Cramer, and Gina Richmond).
Over the past year these purchasing professionals  have been reviewing materials and preparing to become certified in the purchasing field.

The certification is awarded by the Universal Public Purchasing Certification Council (UPPCC) and is a program supported by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) of which Hamilton County is a member.  The certification process
bulletDemonstrates a standard of competency in the public purchasing profession
bulletIs a designation that indicates to the public that, having mastered a body of knowledge, one can make sound decisions that reflect maximum value for the taxpayer's dollar
bulletProvides for a meaningful standard for employment and advancement of public procurement personnel

The Universal Public Purchasing Certification Council, the issuer of the CPPB and CPPO designations, is accredited by the International Federation of Purchasing and Materials Management.  Congrats to the Purchasing staff!

 

County offers Technical Assistance Seminar to Small Businesses
The Hamilton County Office of Small, Minority and Female Business Development is hosting a one-day Technical Assistance seminar on December 7, 2001.  The session, to be held at the Hamilton County Business Center in Norwood, will provide small, minority and women-owned businesses with specific information about bidding on Hamilton County Projects.  The seminar is free of charge.  The December 7th session has reached the limit of 40 participants.  Additional sessions will be scheduled in early 2002 based on demand from interested businesses.  For more information call (513) 946-4323.

 

 

Goal-setting Workshop helps Community COMPASS set course for County-wide Town Meeting in January

Something new and exciting is coming to Hamilton County and you can determine its success! The all-day Countywide Town Meeting on January 12, 2002 at Music Hall is the first of its kind in Hamilton County and, in fact, the entire state of Ohio.

During October, Community Forums were held to generate ideas to build Hamilton County's first comprehensive planning document in more than a generation.  This planning effort is called Community COMPASS.  Over 2,800 ideas were generated by county residents through the forums. The Community COMPASS

Steering Team (members from the private, public and civic sectors who oversee the COMPASS process) met on November 15, to sift through the 2,800-plus ideas to create goals for the county.

Categories used by the Steering Team are the issues that are the top concerns for county residents, issues such as housing, mobility, education and economic development. Each goal is valuable because they come directly from the thoughts and voices of Hamilton County residents.

At the goal-writing workshop, Steering Team members also identified challenges that might impede implementation of the goals. The challenges developed helped identify key issues that will be discussed at the Countywide Town Meeting, the next phase of Community COMPASS.

At the Countywide Town Meeting, 1,000 residents of Hamilton County and those who work in the county will sit in small groups and discuss cross-cutting issues such as race and equity. After discussion, participants will use wireless polling keypads to vote on issues allowing them to see the impact of their ideas and concerns. Each table will use this approach and the results will automatically be compiled for everyone to see.

For more information on Community COMPASS or to register for the Countywide Town Meeting on Jan.12 at Music Hall, please visit  www.communitycompass.org on the Web or call the Community COMPASS hotline at 946-4505.  

 

"Thursday's Child" effort recognized as a part of Adoption Awareness Month

For more than 25 years, Hamilton County Children's Services has worked with WKRC-TV Channel 12 to produce a weekly news segment, "Thursday's Child," to promote community awareness and to recruit foster and adoptive parents.  As a part of
County Commissioners (back row) with Moira Weir of DJFS, Channel 12's Cammy Dierking, Children's Services case aide Carol Stegeman.
adoption awareness month,  Commissioners recognized the efforts of Channel 12 and the Department Job and Family Services (DJFS) for their efforts. 

Channel 12 broadcaster Cammy Dierking and Children's Services case aide Carol Stegeman attended this mornings Board of County Commissioner's meeting and were honored for their outstanding efforts to reach out to the community on the behalf of children in need. 

 

County Solid Waste District awarded Recycle, Ohio! Grant

The Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District (District) has announced that they are a recipient of a $141,500 Recycle, Ohio! Grant to develop or strengthen recycling and litter prevention programs.

Grant funding supports recycling collection, education and awareness campaigns waste reduction efforts, “buy recycled” activities and litter prevention programs across state.

“Our country conserves precious natural resources, saves energy and protects our environment through local recycling efforts,” said Holly Christmann, Community Specialist for the District.  “Recycle, Ohio! Grant funding allows communities to effectively target their solid waste reduction, recycling and litter prevention programming needs.”

Recycle, Ohio! Grants totaling $6,967,746 were awarded to 97 communities throughout the state. The grants are awarded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and are administered through its Division of Recycling & Litter Prevention.

 

 

Helpful Hints for Trimming your Holiday Waste

The temperatures are falling and the snow will be here soon, bringing with it another holiday season in Greater Cincinnati. The holidays are a time to get together with family and friends for food, presents, and celebrations. With this Yuletide spirit comes an extra 25 million tons of garbage produced between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Americans throw away 25% more trash during the holiday season than any other period of the year, but there is something you can do about it. The following tips and ideas can help you be environmentally friendly this holiday season.

Holiday Food

Over 28 billion pounds of edible food are wasted each year, totaling over 100 pounds per person. At your next holiday party, try to:

·        Plan meals wisely and practice portion control to minimize waste in the first place.

·        Send holiday leftovers home with your guests as gifts, this way it’s appreciated and sure to go unwasted.

·        Donate leftovers to a local food bank or homeless shelter.

·        Compost your food waste. Fruits and vegetables are great for composting and work as a natural fertilizer.

 

Conservation

Save the environment and your electric bill and gas bills too. Try these energy saving tips to make your after Christmas bills a little merrier and your wallet a little lighter:

·        Turn down the heat before guests arrive. You’ll save energy while the extra body heat of your guests will warm up the room.

·        Look for smaller bulbs when purchasing outdoor lighting. The smaller the bulb, the lower the wattage. Low wattage bulbs consume less energy and give off less heat, making them safer and more energy efficient.

·        Plan your holiday shopping in advance and consolidate trips. This saves you gas and the stress of last minute shopping trips.

·        Huddle your family in front of the fireplace to conserve electricity or have a candlelight dinner. This can be quality family time and help you reduce stress during this busy holiday season.

·        Walk to neighborhood parties or carpool to save gas.

 

Gifts and Cards

Gift giving can be a hassle and people often end up with things they don’t want or need which can then end up in our landfills. In addition, our mailboxes are flooded with the over 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the United States. This amount could fill a football field 10 stories high. Make it easier on yourself and the environment this year with these great ideas:

·        Think about giving gift certificates if you’re not sure what to give, or make a donation in his or her name to your favorite charity.

·        Start a savings account for kids so they can learn to save and watch their money grow. Or give stocks or bonds as gifts.

·        Donate unwanted gifts, along with last year’s gifts that the kids have outgrown, to charity.

·        Set a good example by giving gifts such as homemade food, an extra houseplant, or something that you’ve made yourself from re-usable or recycled items.

·        Send electronic cards to family, friends and business associates who are on-line.

·        Reduce mail volume by updating and paring down your holiday mailing list. If we each sent one less card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

 

Packaging and Wrappings

All of the holiday wrapping and packaging not only creates more waste for our environment, but can also be time consuming and expensive. Try these tips for wrapping or sending gifts:

·        Give gifts that don’t need to be wrapped, like tickets to concerts, museums, or sporting events.

·        When giving oversized gifts like bicycles, just tie a bow around them instead of wrapping them in paper.

·        Use old magazines, newspapers, maps, or the Sunday comics to wrap gifts.

·        Instead of wrapping children’s gifts, hide the gifts and make a scavenger hunt out of it.

·        When sending items through the mail, pick items that are easy to ship and won’t require excess packaging, like gift certificates and tickets.

·        Reuse packaging materials such as boxes, peanuts, wood shavings, and bubble wrap.

·        Combine your purchases into one bag or bring your own canvas bag on holiday shopping trips.

Keep in mind that you can make a difference, and a little effort goes a long way in helping our environment. Don’t forget that you can always recycle a lot of the extra holiday paper generated at our monthly mixed paper recycling sites. Call our recycling hotline at (513) 946-7741 or visit our web-site at www.does.org. Watch for locations to recycle your Christmas tree after the holidays. Have a safe and happy holiday season from the staff at the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services!

 

Board Departments exceed United Way Goals
Hamilton County recently rounded up pledges to the United Way organization.  The outcome was great!  Departments under the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) stepped up with a significant increase in both participation and overall giving. Specifically, the departments of community development, regional planning, county commissioners and the building commissioners had excellent participation.  In fact, the Board of County Commissioners and County Administration reach 100% participation.  Also of note, the Department of Job and Family  Services more than doubled compared to last year. The departments under the BOCC, pledged a total of $69,572.90 to the United Way for 2002, an increase of nearly 21% compared to 2001.
 


Great Progress being made at Great American Ball Park

The photos below are from a recent tour of the Great American Ball Park site.  As you can see, much progress is being made.  This winter will be a busy one at the Ball Park site.  Remember, you check on progress any time by clicking on the Great American Ball Park construction web-cam on the Hamilton County home page:  www.Hamilton-Co.org.
 

 

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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 Erica Binford (946-4324), Sharon Booker (946-4428) or Eric Stuckey (946-4432) in the County Administrator's Office or e-mail to eric.stuckey@hamilton-co.org.