2008 County Commission Candidate Questionnaire
Answers of County Commissioner Todd Portune
1) COAST has a goal of reining in state and local government spending to a rate lower than the rate of inflation. COAST’s Board of Directors believes this will only be accomplished with a consistently disciplined approach on tax and spending issues. a) Will you oppose all attempts to increase taxes in Hamilton County during the coming term (2009-2012) beyond the rate of inflation, using 2008 as a base year? Answer: As the original supporter of the county policy to keep all county controlled taxes below the rate of inflation I have consistently supported that policy; have adopted it annually in every county budget policy goal Resolution since then; have proposed it for the 2009 County Budget Policy goal resolution and will continue to do so. Moreover, I have not only supported this as a policy but I have consistently followed county policy and maintained county budgets below the rate of inflation every year from 2004 through the present consistent with the policy first adopted by me and then commissioner Phil Heimlich in 2003. b) Will you work to decrease the size and cost of government in Hamilton County? If so, please state specifically how you will do this. Answer: Yes, I will do so, and I have a proven record of having done so, including cutting $10 Million in expenses in 2007; $35 Million in expenses in 2008; and cutting another $12 Million mid-term 2008, to maintain balanced budgets in each of the aforementio0ned years without raising taxes and including reducing FTE positions by over 100 in 2008 alone. I have also proposed the following measures that are all working to keep expenses down: i) Monthly reporting on the budget in all departments tracking spending by each department and individual county office; ii) Placing a Freeze on unnecessary overtime expenses; iii) Placing a Freeze on hiring, including replacement hiring resulting in every position being scrutinized and eliminating positions through attrition that are not needed; iv) Enforcing a 6% across the board budget cut to maintain budget balance; v) Reducing spending on commodities purchases [bulk items such as paper, pens, postage, etc.] by a minimum of 5%;

vi) vii) viii)


Implementing the first county Managed Competition in county Print Services; Pursuing a county Managed Competition in Fleet Services; Proposing new county Managed Competitions in Public Relations; Human Resources; Finance Officers; and Budget Analysts positions; Creating the county Cabinet of Economic Advisers to recommend on ways to reduce spending and costs of government;




Supporting and aggressively pursuing the Shared Services effort and working to reduce costs through collaborative efforts among local government; Resolving against numerous unfunded mandates and introducing a new budget policy goal to require county administration to present a budget based on minimal acceptable service levels to comply with state mandates thereby forcing department heads and independently elected county officials to have to justify any expenditure above minimal levels; Introducing the concept of performance based budgeting in county government and implementing its oversight on county finances;

2) In 2007, the commissioners cynically attempted to increase the sales tax without a vote of the people precisely because they thought they could “get away with it.” If you care to comment on these 2007 actions, please do so. Answer: Your characterization of the action by the Board in 2007 as “cynical” and the motivation as “because they could ‘get away with it’” are inaccurate and off base. It is unfortunate that current leadership of COAST chooses to interject such accusations when the same COAST leadership supported a sales tax increase just one year prior for a similar venture and several years before supported the introduction of an entirely new property tax for the Museum Center – both taxes heavily supported and led by COAST endorsee Phil Heimlich, suggesting a political bias at COAST despite its 501(c)(3) status. The Board’s actions in 2007 were designed to address a difficult reality, that being the need for additional and new jail space coupled with a very real county budget shortfall that was projected [accurately] to result in the county bond rating being reduced; the county reserve fund to be reduced to below acceptable levels; and county revenues being inadequate to support basic levels of priority county service. The decision to enact the tax without a

public vote was a difficult decision, but one taken in full public view, with public notice and public discussion. My personal position on the need for the commissioners to do this first surfaced in August 2006 in a guest editorial I wrote for the Cincinnati Enquirer where I made the case for why the commissioners needed to act in that fashion then, instead of seeking a vote. I argued that if the 2006 tax which COAST supported was voted down it would be impossible to get a tax passed in the future. I argued that the need for a new jail was demonstrated [a position COAST also took with its support of the 2006 sales tax hike] and we, as commissioners, had both a duty to provide adequate jail space and the authority to enact a tax, so to perform our duty we needed to act that way. My two colleagues, who included one [Commissioner Heimlich] who was running for re-election chose to “punt” on the issue and put it to a vote instead of doing what needed to be done. In 2007 our comprehensive safety plan would have raised the necessary money to build a new jail. It also would have raised new money needed to maintain and expand sheriff’s patrols to enhance safety; money to run and operate the new jail being built; money for needed new juvenile facilities [50 new beds]; money to cover the full cost of county emergency communications so the 48 small cities, villages and townships of the county would not have to spend their general fund safety money to cover the cost of a county responsibility [which is what is done today] and money for new needed and efficient services to attack mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction and to reduce recidivism. It was a 15 year tax that covered 30 years of expenses. Our proposal and our action was supported and endorsed by virtually every organization outside of COAST, The Green Party and the NAACP. All three local parties endorsed it as did the Enquirer and every religious organization and collaborative that weighed in on the subject. What I found to be cynical; or what was done by people who thought they could “get away with it”, was the dissemination of misrepresentations and outright lies. People said the county had plenty of money to build and operate a new jail. Among them was our county Treasurer Rob Goering and County Commissioner Pat DeWine. Goering absolutely knew better. As Treasurer he failed to collect over $80 million in taxes that were due in 2007 alone, greatly contributing to the county’s and to local government and school district financial woes. As we have seen this year following $35 million in cuts to balance the budget we have had to make another $12 million in mid-year budget adjustments just to remain balanced. Those cuts have resulted in the loss of the sheriff’s added Hot Spot patrols [including patrols in Over the Rhine that reduced crime there by 50% in 2007. Crime has since gone up in OTR with the loss of those patrols] and curtailment of other

routine patrol services by the sheriff. They also resulted in the closure of three floors of the Queensgate jail. Opponents of our effort said in 2007 that the jails were not crowded and have stated this year that there have been no prisoners early released, or “processed only” as evidence that overcrowding was manufactured. Those are outright misstatements. For the first half of 2008 over 2,300 prisoners were “processed only” and while the number of early releases was down to 20% of the number over the same time period in 2007, there were, nonetheless, early releases. That was before the budget necessitated closure of Queensgate’sthree floors. Since then the numbers have increased including male prisoners being among that number for the first time in several years. Some times, as an elected leader, you have to do things that are very unpopular, but are necessary. We knew that what we had to do would be unpopular. But it was necessary. And the extreme budget difficulties we now face and their resultant negative impact on public safety bears out that we did the right thing when we acted. a) Are you willing to firmly commit that during the coming commission term, you will not attempt to raise any taxes (including the sales tax) without a vote of the people? Answer: I am willing to commit that in the event we are facing the need for a new property or sales tax that I will first consider placing it before the people for a vote. That is always the preferable route. Not knowing what the future may hold, including potential emergency conditions, I cannot responsibly assert that in all cases with all taxes I would always, without fail, require a vote of the people. 3.) How will you work to make Hamilton County more competitive for business and families? Answer: I have laid out a detailed and comprehensive agenda for growth and positive change for the county. I am forwarding the Agenda to you as the complete answer to this question. My Agenda, which the Cincinnati Enquirer has variously described as “ambitious and Aggressive” and as “Lofty Goals” details the steps I have begun to take, and with re-election, remain committed to implement to make the county more competitive and attractive. 4.) What other initiatives do you propose to rein in taxes and spending in Hamilton County?

Answer: i.) I have detailed the majority of other initiatives, besides what is contained in my answer to question 3.) abovein answer to question 1.)b.), which I incorporate here by reference in answer to this question 4.). Beyond that; ii.) I believe we must continue to utilize the county Tax Levy Review Commission to assess all tax requests and must go through that process in every case a new tax is considered to ensure a complete public vetting of the proposal. iii.) I also support working very hard to stop state and federal government from making new unfunded mandates and requiring state and federal government to provide full funding for any new mandate. iv.) I am also working hard to identify alternative means of construction to keep the cost of the federal government mandated sewer fixes in Hamilton County as low as possible and to require the federal government to provide the bulk of funding. Our sewer system was rendered obsolete by the Clean Water Act and the $3.5 Billion fix it requires will be borne totally by local ratepayers unless we get state and federal help. It is obscene to think that the United States government is racking up $ Trillions in debt while spending $12 Billion a month to build up a new infrastructure in Iraq yet the same federal government is suing its own citizens here in Hamilton County to force us alone to pay to fix up our infrastructure just because it is old. 5.) Will you oppose all efforts to provide any additional tax dollars to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, holding them to their solemn promise not to seek additional public funds after the initial construction of the Center? Answer: Yes.

6.) Recently, the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County voted to empower the Port Authority to take property by eminent domain and give it broad new taxing powers. Please provide your comments on this decision. Answer: The city and county acted to reform the Port Authority in light of its eight years of limited development success to make it a better development authority and to let it operate as a true Port Authority when addressing the opportunities that abound in Hamilton County from our location along the Ohio River and the bulk terminal space that abuts the river; the Queensgate rail yard; the convergence of interstate highways and air freight infrastructure at Lunkenand CVG. One of the central planks in our strategy to grow Hamilton County out of its budget crisis is to make strategic investments in development opportunities that will grow the revenue base of the county without raising taxes. We cannot cut ourselves into budget prosperity but instead must work to right-size the county while growing business and jobs. The improvements we made to the Port Authority will position it

to do as much as $100 Million in bond funded development each year. That kind of growth, annually, will grow the revenues of the county without raising taxes. 7.) Do you support or oppose efforts to use taxpayer funds for light rail or other such transportation proposals such as those which have been defeated in the past? Answer: My complete position on transit and reform measures is detailed in the attached DRAFT Resolution I prepared and submitted to the City of Cincinnati. In it I am calling for a different way to look at funding transit from an economic development frame of mind. I believe a regionally governed, funded and multimodal service oriented system is what we need and will spark business growth and development that will ultimately reduce the need for new taxes and reduce the levels of taxation because the volume of business growth will be so high. 8.) Will you oppose efforts to fund ”arts” projects or organizations with existing tax dollars? Answer: It really depends on a case by case basis. Some projects merit support because they contain elements that result in gains for the region and taxpayers. Others are simply a waste of public money. I would have to consider each such item on its own merit. 9.) Various advocates for greater funding for “arts” in Cincinnati and Hamilton County have recently begun to push for a tax-payer funded revenue stream specifically devoted to funding their pet projects. Will you oppose all efforts to establish a new tax to fund arts programs in the region? Answer: I am unfamiliar with any such effort, or the details of the same. In general I am opposed to new taxes unless absolutely necessary and for a critical public priority such as safety or health. The arts do not fit that category. 10.) Will you support continuance of the Government Accountability project started by Commissioner Pat DeWine? Answer: Yes.

11.) What specific tax fighting credentials do you possess (i.e. legislative votes against tax increases, public roles opposed to higher taxes and spending, etc.). Please cite specific public positions you have taken in the anti-tax/anti-spending cause. Answer: While not an exhaustive list, please note the following:

a) I personally sued the Cincinnati Bengals in the effort to reform the horrific deal struck by the county with the team and have led all efforts to reform that deal, reduce taxpayer costs and save taxpayer money in connection with the Bengals and at Paul brown Stadium; b) I introduced new accountability ad spending oversight measures in the Great American Ballpark construction process leading to the project being completed on time and under budget; c) I implemented similar measures, joint with the city of Cincinnati, resulting in the convention center expansion project being completed on time and $10 Million under budget; d) Paid off $10 Million in convention center debt early due the savings in construction; e) While on City Council I authored the Cincinnati Tax Reform Act of 1998 and fought to get its 19 provisions adopted [ 11 were ]; f) I led opposition to, and repealed the, city stock option tax; g) I supported every property tax rollback proposed at the city and was the deciding fifth vote; h) I proposed tax credits for, and repealed some of the city surcharge for, sidewalk repairs; i) I repealed the city surcharge for yard waste collection; j) Starting my work at the county, I reduced the Indigent Care Levy by over $30 Million in 2001; k) I repealed the county increase in the Transfer Real Estate Tax; l) I blocked a proposed increase in the county Real Estate Transfer Tax during several budgets; m) As President of the Board I led the work on balancing the budgets in 2007, 2008 and mid-term 2008 adjustment – all done without raising taxes as proposed by county administration and instead done with new efficiencies and economies, right-sizing the government, eliminating over 100 positions and cutting, collectively over $57 Million in anticipated cost and expense; n) I adopted the county budget policy to keep county controlled taxes within the rate of inflation and have faithfully abided by that policy from 2004 to the present; o) I have regularly opposed MSD rate hikes and personally led the effort to adopt a new Green infrastructure program to cut MSD sewer repair costs by about $1.5 Billion; p) I introduced and adopted numerous county budget control measures, including: i) Monthly reporting; ii) Freeze on overtime; iii) Freeze on hiring; iv) Reductions in commodity purchases; v) Requiring centralized purchasing;

vi) vii) viii) ix)

x) xi)

Requiring Board review of all JFS contracts; Adopting performance based budgeting; Reducing energy consumption by 2% minimum per annum beginning in 2007; Implementing Managed Competition by implementing the first ever managed competition in county print services; beginning a second with fleet services; and proposing four more in Public Relations/Media outreach; Human Resources; County Finance and County Budget Administration; Engaging in local government Shared Services; Supporting the GASP Program

Thank you for affording me the privilege and opportunity of responding to the 2008 COAST Questionnaire. Sincerely, Todd Portune President of the Board Hamilton County Commission

Supplement to Answer to question 3.)

2008 Hamilton County Agenda for Growth and Positive Change Presented by Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune
Monday, January 14, 2008

After spending a year, 2007, largely getting the County’s house in order and paving the way to provide the foundation for growth, change and positive development, 2008 represents an exciting opportunity in the history of Hamilton Countyto take dramatic steps ahead. 2008 represents the beginning of a new era of collaboration and cooperation that grows and rebuilds Hamilton County providing an exciting and positive future for the people who arrive here in order to live, work and visit.

The budget goals, recently adopted by the Board, outline three primary areas of attention for this year. They are:

1. Keep the County’s fiscal house in order and stabilize our budget, revenue streams and reserves; 2. Continue the progress made in all areas of public safety and in particular, complete the necessary reforms and advances that are required to solve our corrections space and criminal justice problems; and 3. Attend to all of the things that affect quality of life and quality of experience in the County. In each of these three areas we must devote our time and attention. I propose that we, through cooperation across party lines and with collaboration among all governmental bodies locally and regionally and with our State and Federal Delegations, develop a three-pronged policy, legislative and programmatic agenda for the County.


Keeping the County’s Fiscal House in Order.

Maintaining good fiscal health for Hamilton Countyinvolves much more than watching the pennies that we spend. While fiscal discipline is one critical, primary element of good fiscal stewardship for the County, it is not the only measure of our success and cannot comprise the only element of our effort. Equally important is maintaining a growing and healthy tax base; reducing the demands for public service by improving the quality of life and livelihoods of others; strategically investing in those businesses and other measures that create new business and employment opportunities in the County and that generate greater returns on our investments and reducing the costs of goods and services through smart and effective decision making and via developing partnerships and alliances with other governmental bodies in ways that increase returns or reduce costs. To succeed in this area, we must:

1. Develop a strategy for business growth and investment by

convening and empowering the County Cabinet of Economic Advisors(first meeting scheduled for Monday, January 29, 2008). The
Cabinet must be given requisite staff and consulting support such that the advisors may present an aggressive strategy of strategic investments that are guaranteed to increase the County’s earnings on investments and that are guaranteed to create a positive growth climate for business expansion, retention, startup and relocation in those businesses that generate sales tax revenues and put real estate to a higher and more productive use.


Reformat the existing Cincinnati-Hamilton County Port Development Authorityin a manner that provides greater
powers and authority to the body allowing it to function in a manner similar to other full-powered authorities such as Cuyahoga and Lucas County, Ohio. The Port Development Authority could negotiate operating agreements in conjunction with terminals along the Ohio River and/or for the use of certain rail facilities that afford the Port additional revenue and economic development potential. The new Port has the opportunity to partner with Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordrayunder new Linked Deposit Business Retention and Support Programs that the Treasurer is developing specifically for the purpose of assisting full-bodied Port Authorities.


Targeting poverty and unemploymentneeds to be a priority in
2008. We will make declaring a war on poverty a critical element of keeping the county’s fiscal house in order because the result of our initiatives should produce greater earnings potential and business growth in the county that in turn provides more of the tax receipts that sustain county operations and by increasing earnings power we reduce demands for service. We will attack poverty, hunger unemployment and underemployment by: a) Aggressively implementing the Worker Readiness Programs and Small Business Contracting and Development elementscreated under the Banks Riverfront Redevelopment Program. b) As an adjunct to rounding out the workforce and business development under the Banks, we must adopt the Banks Development Policies for contracting and employment as policy for the Countyin ways that require the introduction of the same elements into other contracting that the County is engaged in. c) We further target unemployment and poverty via convening a summit on poverty joint with the City of Cincinnati and other non-profit, civic and social service agencies, in Hamilton County that is designed to result in a compact executed by the Summit participants, the local bodies of government involved and business leadership including without limitation the

African American, Hispanic and Greater Cincinnati Chambers of Commerce. d) Further addressing the issues of poverty and unemployment in the region requires that we look to develop new economic policy for the County that requires including elements supplier contracting as a part of the County’s overall policy and empowers the County’s Small Business Office with the legislative support and the staff and financial support that will permit the certification of qualified supplier contractorsto occur and linkages to then be made under the direction of the County’s’ Small Business Office. e) We must replicate the unrestricted County Economic Development Fund that was discontinued two years ago and that provides last dollars in to support individual development projects, business district revitalizations, housing initiatives and other development matters that greatly benefit the work of the First Suburbs Consortium aimed at eliminating blight, restoring property to its higher and best use and sponsoring business district revitalization. 4. Maintaining good fiscal health also requires that the taxes and fees paid by County residents be appropriate for the scope of services provided but also not be at levels that are unaffordableand/or that are similarly not established at levels greater than required given the specific demands for services that are necessary. Essential elements of understanding the operation of the existing tax and fee structure on County operations, the delivery of services and the burden borne by individuals and businesses, we must charge the County Tax Levy Review Commission with the duty and responsibility to conduct such analysisand to report back to the Board in time that we can utilize the report and recommendations around budget deliberations for 2009 and beyond.

5. Such an effort further requires specific to the Metropolitan Sewer District that we continue the parallel tracks of pressing for more cost efficient alternatives to meet the Department of Justice requirements in the Consent Decree order that governs the scope of work and the County’s legal responsibility, and Hamilton County taking the lead in developing a coalition of similarly affected jurisdictions around the country and urging federal legislative intervention from the administration and/or Congress to reduce the local burden and share of that burden by local parties elevating the Federal Government’s responsibility in these areas and resulting in contributions from the same that in turn reduce the local contributions and make more affordable the rate increases that we will have to seek in the future in order to pay for the full scope of work. 6. Maintaining good fiscal health and discipline requires that the County, in addition to adhering to and enforcing the aggressive budget reserve policy

that we adopted in 2007, mandates that we develop still further policies that limit expenditures and that work to grow revenues. Accordingly, we must target as outcomes for the end of 2008; a) Being able to deposit into the County Reserve the additional money necessary to bring the County Reserve above 5% of ongoing General Fund expenditures and therefore within acceptable ranges according to generally accepted County principles; and b) That we target,[either in the form of reductions in costs through an overview of County operations or the ongoing work through the shared services committee, or an increase in revenues due to the specific investments made by the County], through the combination of reductions in costs, or growth in revenues, to exceed the inflationary costs of General Fund expenditures on an annual basis. 7. Bringing the Riverfront Stadium fund into structural balance both short and long term [the fund presently reflects deficit spending beginning in 2013 with a total deficit approximating $191 Million]. Such an initiative will require developing a plan of action that either reduces expenses or grows revenues in favor of the benefit of the county. The effort could involve the pursuit of naming rights sales for the stadium, the field, the plaza areas or other elements of the stadium; and developing a stadium entertainment authorityfor the purpose of marketing the use of Paul Brown Stadium in ways that will regularly generate revenue to the benefit of the County. Our goal should be to embark on a path the brings us in structural and ongoing riverfront fund budget balance beginning in 2013. 8. Reinstating the County Home Improvement and Small Business Improvement linked deposit program that today have generated over $20 Million in private money fixing up the ageing housing and business properties in the county. 9. Successfully concluding the reforms at Hamilton County Job & Family Servicesand the response to both the Auditor of State and Ohio Department of Job & Family Services Audit of the County’s work from July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2004. Accomplishing this goal also means generating audited financial reports in doing so in ways that result in protecting the County General Fundfrom and against any findings for recovery and demonstrating the County’s position and the corrective actions taken by the County among other things, resulting in their being no harm, as alleged, and certainly none that jeopardize the County General Fund.

10.Concluding the County negotiations with Moody’s in ways that demonstrate that the County through the work undertaken in 2007 and through the work that is identified in this agenda, addressed by a collaborative, cooperative and bipartisan approach with the County not being distracted by inflammatory partisan considerations, works to retain the County’s current bond ratingby Moody’s.

Continue the progress made in all areas of public safety and in particular, complete the necessary reforms and advances that are required to solve our corrections space and criminal justice problems
II. Reducing crime countywide via the introduction of a multiple community-based enhanced law enforcement and high visibility presence involving:

1. Utilizing the former Over-The-Rhine patrol deputies retained by the Sheriff’s Office and assigned into communities where the elected leadership has asked for assistance and local law enforcement has agreed to cooperate with the Sheriff’s Deputies; 2. Expanding community-based probation services into a minimum of four new communities or neighborhoods throughout Hamilton County including within the City of Cincinnati. 3. Under the authority of County Emergency Management convening an umbrella of support and organization that is designed to create dual Citizen Corps/Citizens on Patrol units operating in every community or precinct as deemed necessary by both the County Homeland Security Chief and by local law enforcement. The units would be designed to function in the dual role of providing the weekly or daily additional eyes and visibility for traditional public safety purposes of fighting crime, preventing fires and responding to emergency medical needs, but also being in place and on duty to look out for any such other public safety issues that arise under the guise of Homeland Security and as attention may be called to bear upon specific known issues. 4. Fulfilling our Public Safety responsibilities will also require that we continue the work begun in 2007 that targets the county’s inmate and criminal population with approaches that are both proactive and reactive but that result in reductions in the recidivism rates we experience and that result in transforming individual behaviors in ways that allow criminals to become productive members of our community. To that end we must: a) maintain the work of the Hamilton County Criminal Justice Commissionas staffed by the Vera Institute and adopt an implementation process for their recommendations.

b) Included must be expanding the current Intake and Assessment Programthat results in every inmate being thoroughly assessed upon intake and directed as appropriate to the proper facility, community based or county run, and that the necessary wrap-around services be provided. c) Additionally, we must find a way to fully develop and implement the proposed Community Certificate of Rehabilitation program that permits an individual to receive the help needed until completion of the required program elements whether incarcerated or not. d) I propose that we also convene a summit of Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Addiction professionalsand providers to consider the application of incremental community based treatment using incremental Levy dollars earmarked in a manner designed to expand availability of services. 5. Our efforts also require the completion of our work to develop the right kind of facilities in use in our Corrections Divisionof the Sheriff’s Department that account for the current overcrowding situation and the pending loss of the Queensgate Facility. We have an economical opportunity still at hand with the donated Sara Lee property in Camp Washington. Prior to embarking on any new construction program we must utilize the data developed by the Vera Institute in a way that ensures any facility or facilities are constructed to address the needs of our population. We immediately are impressed with the need of secure facilities for an inmate population that presents higher security risksthan can be safely accommodated at Queensgate. At the same time we are impressed by the need for the development of a facility that permits a Work-Release or Day-Release componentgiven the high rate of employment among county jail inmates. To properly construct such a facility[ies] requires: a) a change in Ohio Regulatory standardsand as such part of our work and policy or legislative agenda for the year must be interacting with the Governor and state legislative leadership to obtain revised standards of construction that are geared to our situation and reality of funding. b) Moreover, the legislative or policy agenda must also include consideration of amnesty for old outstanding warrants of minor, non-violent criminal activity. Most of those cases end up dismissed anyway while costing our community greatly in the form of crowded corrections facilities and unnecessary cost to the system, to law enforcement and to the community through lost productivity and lost employment. c) On Saturday February 16, 2008, the City of Cincinnati will be convening a Neighborhood Summit at which I have been asked to present on the next steps in the wake of Issue 27’s defeat. I propose the presentation of a complete plan by then that addressed all issues.

6. Preserving the Peace and Security of the Publicextends beyond traditional public safety issues of crimes, fires and medical emergencies. In these days of the separate wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Global War on Terror, we are affected in Hamilton County by the cost of service of our men and women in uniform and through our statutory responsibilities to help veterans and their families through the county Veterans’ Services Commission. The needs of area veterans and their families have not been thoroughly assessed nor provided for. Neither have we completed our countywide responsibility in Homeland Security via county Emergency Management. Both areas of county responsibility must receive priority attention in 2008. As such I am proposing that we:


b) c)



Complete the first Grant Funded phase of our emergency warning system repair by the start of the severe weather season to ensure that, at a minimum, we have provided for full 100% coverage via audible warning signals in the entire populated areas of the county, and that we continue the planning and grant development efforts for the further system enhancements such as Reverse 911 capability; voice messaging; geographic targeting; flash flood warning; rail line and spur monitoring and the like; Complete a home readiness program in conjunction with local retailers that results in yearend home readiness and neighborhood/community preparedness; Convene community public hearings on the state of veterans and their families to develop a thorough needs assessment that identifies the appropriate level of county VSC assistance required and allows us to approach our state and federal delegations for assistance in favor of veterans via state and federal support; As an element of assessing the state of veterans, obtain a true reading on the population of homeless veterans and their needs; utilizing a portion of the incremental VSC allocation in favor of the Joseph House for Veterans and its programmatic efforts of providing safe temporary shelter and immediate emergency needs; Convening a summit with Drake Hospital officials, the Friends of Drake, veterans, the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense about the opportunity of continuing the turnaround of Drake Hospital by becoming a Center of Excellence in the Mid-West for long term therapeutic and rehabilitative care for returning veterans who have sustained debilitation injuries in combat or otherwise affecting head and brain trauma, severe spinal cord injury or loss of limb.

Attend to all of the things that affect quality of life and quality of experience in the County.
III, It is a simple fact that people will choose to live, work or visit elsewhere if the quality of the experience in our county is substandard. In difficult budget times that stark reality places a heavy burden upon the county. It demands of us an approach that is creative, collaborative and cooperative. It requires full time and priority attention as opposed to the philosophy of some which is to reduce what we do.

The measures of Quality of Life are showing up in the many community and regional reports of key community indicators. They include our rates of people in poverty; children who are hungry; number of homes in foreclosure and the rate at which babies die before their first birthday. They include the performance levels of our schools and students, including the numbers that graduate and those who drop out. Performance measures include the carbon footprints we leave, the energy we use, waste or conserve and the cleanliness of our streets, waterways, parks and neighborhoods. They include the livability of our homes and the welcoming nature, or not of our buildings and public spaces. They include the availability, accessibility and affordability of our entertainment and culture. And they include the stability of the family unit, together with the standard of living conditions and the economic levels of attainment.

Those measures of the overall quality of our collective human experience in Hamilton County are the standards by which our effort must be rated and guide the policy and programmatic Agenda for the county in 2008. Accordingly, I propose that we:


Immediately initiate an aggressive Environmental Agenda that;
a) Commits Hamilton County to reducing its use of global warming emissions by a minimum of 2% per year; and b) Partners with other major institutions in leading the way toward the use of alternate energy, “Green” design, purchase and construction in county operations and projects; c) Commits to the full utilization of environmentally sensitive construction in the Metropolitan Sewer District improvements;

d) Develops protocols for the use of water permeable and absorbing materials in roadway construction; e) Develops a countywide plan for the construction of green roofs in public facilities and that incentivizes and encourages the same with homeowners and in the private sector; f) Strategically partners with the State of Ohio to position Hamilton County and the SW Ohio region to fully benefit from the Governor’s initiatives in making alternate energy and “Green” initiatives a pillar of economic development; support the efforts at developing a true regional transportation system designed to introduce multi-modal transportation options into regular use in the county; g) Embraces the ongoing work of the Solid Waste District that is offering new recycling opportunities for traditional municipal solid waste and for organics and food products in the stated effort at moving Hamilton County toward becoming a “Zero Waste” community; and h) Creating a major development or project in conjunction with key partners in the private sector [i.e. the Homebuilders] that highlights the benefits and opportunities of pro-environmental development such as a new county “Homerama” that is designed and built using recycled products and fosters the daily use of recycled materials in traditional home operations [“Recyclarama”?] or that involves an entire neighborhood built to sustain the homes solely with the use of sustainable, renewable and alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, etc.

2. Continue and

expand the Collaboration with Local School Districts around an Agenda of Mutual Interest by:
a) Prioritizing county aid and assistance, including after-school programming for those school jurisdictions that reflect the poorest student achievement and carry that initiative to school districts other than Cincinnati Public Schools; b) Schedule a series of Bi-annual or quarterly meetings with school districts to discuss issues of mutual concern; shared services; shared purchasing; pooling of contracts for services, materials, energy, and health care, and to discuss the potential for pooled investments to maximize returns; c) Develop a Compact for the use of incremental collected property tax revenues in favor of schools arising out of the county’s sale of delinquent tax lien certificates for the purpose of introducing new and helpful services and assistance such as the Children First Plan program into multiple new schools determined by need, all of which work to improve children’s health, mental health and address factors that work to prevent dropping out of school; d) Assess the potential for shared contracting in transportation in ways that benefit the schools and local communities. [i.e. explore the potential for shared use of school busses in providing transit for

students to and from school and school related events and to serve as community shuttles for citizens either to get to and from school buildings being used as community resources, or to serve as shuttles to benefit residents getting to and from places of need and interest such as shopping, business appointments, groceries, etc.] 3. Making Certain that the Public’s Health and Access to Health Care remain Priorities for Attention and that specific steps are taken to stabilize and augment Access to Health Care and to reduce

specific Disease or Conditional concerns such as Infant Mortality and SIDS by:
a) Enrolling all Medicaid eligible Hamilton County citizens in the program through the full implementation of the county’s existing Medicaid outreach and enrollment program, begun in 2007, and partnering with others to do the same; b) Providing financial support from incremental health care revenues realized through the sale of delinquent tax lien certificates in support of expanded public health and clinical health delivery including without limitation assisting the county, city and non-profit health clinics; expanding the hours of operation and services available at the Lincoln Heights Health Center; and supporting the various campaigns of the Center for Closing the Gap; c) Targeting specific public health nuisances and utilizing existing and newly realized revenues for strategic approaches designed to attack bed bug infestation and to reduce exposures to, and expand treatment required for, lead exposure and poisoning; d) Fully supporting the Infant Mortality Reduction Task Force and its operations that are designed to reduce the county’s Infant Mortality rate to below the national average within five years


Advancing the County’s and the Region’s Public Transportation Options and conveying a legitimate sense of
hope and promise that Public Transit will be a priority service offered to the citizens of the region by: a) Completing the outreach with our regional partners and developing the governance framework for a true regional transportation authority that is both regionally governed and funded and that includes the outline for growth of the system in terms of coverage and modality of service available; b) Complete all work necessary to allow for visible work on the Eastern Corridor multimodal transportation and land use plan to commence including arranging for demonstration project experience along the Oasis Line of a commuter DMU experience;

c) Commence construction and confirm the deadline for completion of the temporary Loveland to downtown bike trail; d) Secure the confirmed inclusion of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in the ORDC High Speed Rail project across Ohio and in the MRRI from Cincinnati to Indianapolis and secure commitment from the City of Cincinnati as to the preferred Inter-City rail station location; e) Commence negotiations with Montgomery County officials designed to develop a compact around creating a regional Joint Economic Development District that includes as a principal element the development of a high speed rail connector between Dayton and Cincinnati.

5. Positioning Hamilton County to

Provide for competitive, affordable and livable housingthat is an attractive alternative
to housing being constructed around the county; and introducing needed reforms to lending and foreclosure practices that eliminate the blight in neighborhoods and predatory practices of others. The needs of our citizens and the interests of the county’s 49 jurisdictions make developing a progressive housing agenda a critical element in our comprehensive strategy aimed at retaining businesses and population by making the county an attractive place to be. a) We can begin by developing a Land Banking program in conjunction with local jurisdictions, and especially the First Suburbs Consortium that will allow for the acquisition of blighted properties, vacant and unproductive land in ways that can lead to the efficient and economical construction of new housing; renovation or conversion of existing housing; and development of in-fill, or new neighborhood housing. b) Meetings with the regional office of the Ohio Attorney General have identified the opportunity to create a new Consumer Protection arm of the AG’s office in collaboration with the County that will provide Homeowner assistance and protection against predatory lending and unscrupulous foreclosure practices. It can also become a proactive vehicle of government that targets the property flippers and predators that prey upon senior citizens, homeowners beset with personal tragedy and upon those who lack the ability to fully comprehend the fleecing practices that are underway. c) We must lobby the Ohio General Assembly to adopt legislation permitting counties to use unallocated DTAC [Delinquent Tax Accounting and Collection] dollars that are not used by the Treasurer or Prosecutor but that can become the foundation of a fund for land banking and other needed reforms. d) In order to generate a booming housing market, I propose the Board engage the HomeBuilders Association for the purpose of developing a Compact aimed at constructing a Homerama style development

in the county every year and to commit toward constructing an incremental 1000 new homes each year above current construction levels. e) During the 2007 budget process we funded a model program designed to begin attacking the growing foreclosure problem in Hamilton County. This effort provided homeowner assistance; individual counseling about foreclosure issuers, assistance to combat individual predatory lending practices and the like. f) We expanded the county’s HIP program during 2007 for individual home improvement, small business property improvement and condo conversions. Our efforts proved successful as total loans exceeded 2000 and private funding leveraged topped $20 Million to make the county’s housing stock more attractive. While the program was temporarily suspended at the start of this year due to budget limitations we must re-start the program quickly and with emphasis to assist in making our aged housing stock attractive and competitive. g) We adopted model policy provisions in MSD that will produce a better climate for the development of new and affordable housing in the county. There are additional policy changes that should be considered that will promote new housing, or business development and retenti0on in Hamilton County.


Completing the Various Reforms begun in the County’s Human Services Delivery to make the experience
more beneficial for the customers we serve and to make the process more efficient and economical in favor of the taxpayers of the county, and safe on behalf of the individual clients we serve. County Job & Family Services has come under a lot of fire this past year in its Foster Care and Adoption Services programs and in its general performance and service delivery. We instituted model oversight provisions in the area of Foster care to better ensure that our child placements are only to homes with responsible adults and safe environments. We have named a new Director of the Department and empowered her with a sweeping series of reform proposals designed to address all deficiencies in the department. The completion of those reforms will become the focus of priority attention over the next year. In addition we must:

a) Conclude the ODJFS audit; update all accounting processes within the department and embark upon a new collaborative and

cooperative relationship with ODJFS as our partner in the delivery of needed human services. b) Continue the recruitment of Foster Parents and Adoptive Parents such that we have an adequate roster of qualified adults to assist in this most necessary service; c) Adopt new policies regarding kinship and respite care that provide the support Foster and Adoptive parents need to be successful and that eliminate the disparities in support of related care providers in order that the policy of first trying to keep children within the broad family structure can be supported and become a reality; d) Complete the development of the “Benefits Bank” that allows for those in need of assistance and care to be able to quickly determine what is available; whether they are qualified to receive; and results in speedier eligibility determinations and provision of assistance.



All in all this is a comprehensive Agenda filled with hope, excitement and promise. Multiple Partners around the region are waiting for Hamilton County to take the initiative and lead the way on numerous fronts. We have the capability of doing so. The only question is whether we have the will. I believe we do and amexcited about the possibilities for our success. With my colleagues’ capable assistance and with the support and prayers of our citizens we will succeed.

Respectfully submitted,

Todd Portune President, Hamilton County Commission


County Administrator, Patrick Thompson

Christian Sigman Eric Stuckey County Budget Staff Mayor Mark Mallory Members of Cincinnati City Council First Suburbs Consortium Hamilton County Township Association

Hamilton County Municipal League Media contacts


This RESOLUTIONis adopted this 2nd day of October, 2008 for the purpose of: 1) repealing that RESOLUTIONadopted forty years ago on this same day of October 2, in year 1968, which established the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority [SORTA], and 2) creating a new transit authority, to be named the Greater Cincinnati Regional Transit Authority, a transit system encompassing multiple Ohio counties and political subdivisions under authority of sections 506.30 – 506.47 of the Ohio Revised Code, and further establishing the potential of said transit system evolving into a multi-state Regional Transit Commission as permitted under section 506.80 – 506.90 of the Ohio Revised Code.

WHEREAS, a gallon of gasoline now approaches $4.00 at the pumps; and

WHEREAS, Greater Cincinnati faces new ozone attainment standards under the Clean Air Act; and

WHEREAS, from the creation of the combustible engine and the manufacture of the first automobile it took until 2004 for gasoline to reach two dollars a gallon. In only four years since the next two dollar increase in the cost of a gallon of gas occurred. Some analysts predict that yet another two dollars increase per gallon of gasoline will occur before the end of this year; and

WHEREAS the facts are that the era of cheap gasoline is over; and

WHEREAS, our growth and transportation policies must be based upon as new reality requiring that we have multiple transportation options available to meet the needs of area commuters, motorists and recreational travelers alike in our region; and

WHEREAS, to make these options available we must work collectively and on a regional basis to create a regional system that:


Is governed on a regional basis with the communities in our metropolitan area each having a meaningful seat at the table of governance, policy formation and decision making; Is funded for existing maintenance and operations of the current system and all growth of the system must be fair, equitable, affordable and must embrace new funding concepts, including funding based upon public-private partnerships that are founded upon fiscally sound economic development principles; Provides fully integrated services among several modalities of service; and Provides cross-community, cross-jurisdictional routes of service meeting the needs of our metropolitan region and the people in it; and




WHEREAS, as responsible citizens we must treat this emerging emergency as the critical issue it is with leadership willing to work together for as long as it takes to get the job done.


1. A RESOLUTION enacted October 2, 1968 creating the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority is and shall be repealed effective April 30, 2009; said existing Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority transitioning into a new Regional Transit Authority enacted pursuant to Revised Code sections 506.30 – 506.47 to be known as the Greater Cincinnati Regional Transit Authority [“GCRTA”]; and 2. The Greater Cincinnati Regional Transit Authority [GCRTA] shall be entrusted with the primary responsibility of providing public transportation





under one or more modalities of transit service for the benefit of citizens, visitors, businesses, itinerant travelers, and others in Hamilton County, Ohio and adjoining southwest Ohio counties of Butler, Warren and Clermont; and Said GCRTA shall assume the legal title of all assets of SORTA; shall assume, implement and enforce all legal obligations, agreements, contracts or other existing duties and responsibilities of SORTA; and shall continue in place, shall enforce and be bound by all labor contracts, collective bargaining agreements and shall recognize as the bargaining agent for all represented employees of SORTA, [who shall all be employed by and be a part of said GCRTA], the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local ______; and Said GCRTA shall be funded initially with a combination of revenue sources that include, without limitation, a dedicated 0.3% earnings tax administered and collected by the City of Cincinnati and paid by individual wage earners who work in Cincinnati regardless of their place of residence; farebox revenues; grants; state and federal funds; contract payments; and Said GCRTA shall be governed by a Board of Directors of not less than 13 nor more than 17 representing the four southwest Ohio counties of Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont; and such other political subdivisions as said counties shall empower, including as a Charter Member the City of Cincinnati; and Said Board shall initially be comprised of 13 Members serving initial staggered terms of 4 years and 2 years [with all 2 year term Members to be replaced, and/or reappointed upon the expiration of said 2 year term for 4 year terms thereafter] as follows: a) City of Cincinnati – 6 Members, 2 serving 4 year terms and 4 serving 2 year terms; b) Hamilton County – 4 Members, 2 serving a 4 year term and 2 serving 2 year terms; c) Butler County – 1 Member serving a 4 year term; d) Warren County – 1 Member serving a 4 year term; e) Clermont County – 1 Member serving a 4 year term; and

7. Said Board and County Membership therein shall be determined as follows: a) Each County represented in the Transit System as hereinafter established, or evolved, shall be allotted no less than one (1) seat with full voting and Membership privileges, duties and responsibilities; and b) The initial allotment of Board Seats shall be 13, with the possible expansion to 17 in the event that said Transit System evolves into a multi-state Transit Commission representing the transit interests of, and providing transit service to, Southeast Indiana [Dearborn

County] and Northern Kentucky [Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties]; and c) The nine (9) At-Large Membership Seats shall be allotted by jurisdiction based upon a funding formula that shall include all revenues of the Transit Authority and the location of origin of said revenue as determined by residence of taxpayer, residence of fare payer, identity of contract payer by political subdivision, or population/demographic eligibility and impact on allocation of state or federal funds as determined by County, PROVIDED THAT, each county may elect to subdivide its Board Membership into Board Seats represented by political subdivision pursuant to act of the County Commission, or Judge Executives, as the case may be, or if a dedicated revenue source shall include a tax imposed by such political subdivision, Board Membership shall be a right as determined by said formula. By way of example and for purposes of explaining the original Board Membership of the GCRTA, the total funding [note**these funding percentages are rough approximations and estimates only] of SORTA includes: i. Earnings tax – 47% [60% paid by county, 40% by city residents]; ii.Fare-box revenues – 27% [15% by county, 85% by city note:
a negligible percentage is paid by Express Run passengers from Butler, Warren and Clermont counties]

iii.Federal and State grants – 11% [60% county/40% city demographic eligibility note: a negligible percentage is based upon population from Butler, Warren and Clermont counties ]; and iv.Contract Payments – 15% [ Hamilton, Warren, Clermont and Butler counties all contract to varying degrees with the total revenues representing approximately 15% of total SORTA revenues. Note: on a per-capita basis with Hamilton County
representing about two thirds of this 15% amount, the total percentages and amounts from this source are insufficient to increase Board Membership in any individual county above their 1/13th or 7.7% total]

v.The nine “At Large” seats shall always be allocated in a manner that appoints such a number of the nine (9) to any jurisdiction providing more than 50% of the total funding to the system that will result in that jurisdiction able to have a majority of the Total Board seats in partnership with any one (1) other Member of the system. By way of explanation in this 13 Board Member configuration seven (7) Members constitutes a majority with one (1) Member being the least allotted to any other jurisdiction. Accordingly, Cincinnati, providing greater than 50% of the funding, must always have a minimum of six (6) Members. Such an analysis yields a prorata Board Membership percentage allocation as follows: City of Cincinnati: 55.12%

Hamilton County: Butler County: Clermont County: Warren County: 2.19% 2.19%



Applying these percentages to the nine (9) At-Large Board Seats reveals that a straight percentage allocation, with Hamilton County already getting credit for one Board seat based upon its status as a county, and with Cincinnati providing greater than 50% of the funding, results in 6 of the “At Large” seats allotted to the City of Cincinnati and 3 to Hamilton County.

[note**The actual percentage, pro-rata breakdown yields rounded
pro rata percentages for the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County of: county 39% / Cincinnati 55% calling for a Board makeup of 4 County and 5 City. However, because Hamilton County already receives one Member automatically and that percentage is not altered when including the contract to the total, the total Hamilton County Board Membership as an entity should not exceed 4 total Members. To account for the total breakdown as impacted by total financial contributions from county of origin the City of Cincinnati should receive one additional Board Membership in recognition of the city providing the vehicle for a dedicated revenue stream]

8. The GCRTA Board shall be charged initially to: a) Operate the bus system operating as Metro throughout the Greater Cincinnati area as presently exists and as shall be expanded; and b) Move to implement the series of system and service enhancements previously presented to the public under the name “Metro Moves”; and c) Operate a system of bus transit service for people with disabilities under the name “Access”; and d) Move to implement service enhancements for people with disabilities including without limitation expanding the area of service to cover the entirety of the populated area of Hamilton







County and to expand the modalities of available service for people with disabilities to include, at a minimum, handicap taxi service; and Negotiate to embrace and include other public transit systems [as may now exist or as may hereinafter be developed] operating within the four county GCRTA jurisdictional area for the purpose of developing a larger, integrated system of service by, between and among the four county jurisdictional area; and Support the development of other modalities of service, including without limitation, local Streetcar, passenger commuter rail, inter city passenger rail; interstate passenger rail, high-speed intercity and interstate passenger rail and, without in any way diminishing or limiting the generality of the foregoing, support the development and implementation of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative [MRRI] and the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati [via Dayton] [3C and D Connector] passenger rail connector in Ohio; and As an element of working upon the tasks called for in the preceding paragraph, participate in the review of the Regional Rail Plan for the purpose of determining the viability and relevance of the plan to the current development of the region and, as appropriate, encourage and/or collaborate with others to either take ownership over one or more arms of the plan for the purpose of developing and establishing legs of service; and Establish regular lines of communication with area Transportation Improvement Districts, OKI Regional Council of Governments, individual transit systems, and/or others actively involved in the development of transportation policies and/or systems, for the purpose of ensuring the coordinated and comprehensive development of transportation policy and systems serving the region; and Establish regular lines of communication with area Transportation Improvement Districts, OKI Regional Council of Governments, individual transit systems, and/or others actively involved in the development of transportation policies and/or systems, for the purpose of helping in the development of a coordinated and unified approach by the Greater Cincinnati Region toward all hereinafter developed state or federal transit legislation, policies, and bills including funding; and Pursue the potential of establishing a multi-state Regional Transit Commission as allowable under Ohio Revised Code sections 506.80506.90 by December 31, 2010.

9. In the event of the addition of other transit systems as described in the preceding paragraph and its sub-parts, a new calculation of financial contributions and by county shall be completed and the impact of such a calculation of Board representation shall also be calculated with any attendant changes to be made effective the first day of January in the year immediately following such calculation. In the event such a calculation calls for the addition of one or more members for any county

and/or the loss of one or more members for any county, the county commission of judge executives, as the case may be, shall determine what such change[s] shall be. 10.The Board of Trustees of the Authority shall elect a Chair who shall serve at the pleasure of the Board. 11.The Board shall meet in Open Public Meetings at regular intervals of at least one meeting per month and at such other times as the Chair may call, or that two other Members may call. 12.The Board shall keep Minutes of its meetings and adequate records of all of its actions and shall be governed by the laws of the State of Ohio and, procedurally, shall operate under Roberts’ Rules of Procedure. 13.Vacancies on the Board shall be filled in the same manner as original appointments. This RESOLUTION has been ADOPTED at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County, Ohio on this _____ day of _________, 2008.

__________________ ____________________ Todd Portune President of the Board Commissioner David Pepper

___________________ Pat DeWine County

Vice-President of the Board

This RESOLUTION has been ADOPTED at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Butler County, Ohio on this _____ day of _________, 2008.

__________________ ____________________


This RESOLUTION has been ADOPTED at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Warren County, Ohio on this _____ day of _________, 2008.

__________________ __________________ _________________

This RESOLUTION has been ADOPTED at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Clermont County, Ohio on this _____ day of _________, 2008.

__________________ __________________ __________________

This RESOLUTION has been ADOPTED at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Cincinnati City Council of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio on this _____ day of _________, 2008.

______________________ Mark Mallory Mayor, City of Cincinnati

Members of Council:

______________________ David Crowley

___________________ __________________ Jeff Berding Chris Bortz

______________________ John Cranley

___________________ __________________ Laketa Cole Leslie Ghiz


___________________ __________________

Chris Monzel

Cecil Thomas

Roxanne Q

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