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VIEWPOINTS A8 • MILFORD-MIAMI ADVERTISER • MAY 21, 2014

Editor: Richard Maloney, rmaloney@communitypress.com, 248-7134

EDITORIALS | LETTERS | COLUMNS | CH@TROOM

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Miami Twp.’s conservative budgeting to continue This year – 2014 – appears to be a turning point for local governments. It appears the state funding cuts are complete and local governments are now operating in the new economic normal. A consistent, conservative financial Ken Tracy approach to COMMUNITY PRESS budgeting and GUEST COLUMNIST spending has allowed Miami Township to weather the economic storm better than many other local governments. Not that we were not affected. Reductions to the Local Government Fund and the elimination of the Estate Tax caused the general fund to lose

close to $1,000,000 and the service department to lose $600,000 in annual revenue. Although impacted, the other departments were not as severely affected. A snapshot of Miami Township’s budget will show that 68 percent of the total budget is labor costs. The number should not be a surprise since Miami Township is a service organization and those services are provided by people, such as police officers, Fire/EMS personnel, service department personnel and recreation personnel. So how did we control these costs? Between 2009 and 2014 Miami Township’s staff was reduced by 11 percent through attrition, yet we still continued to provide high quality service to our residents.

Departments reallocated resources and redistributed responsibilities among their staff. In 2012, the township increased the health insurance deductible paid by our employees in order to control increases in our insurance premiums. In addition to controlling direct labor costs the township also deferred capital expenditures over the past five years, in order to ensure sufficient funds were available for operations. During this time period all departments worked to extend the life of their vehicles and equipment. Increased attention to preventive maintenance helped extend the replacement schedule. These extended replace-

ment schedules will remain in place. The township also started using its tax increment finance funds for the purchase of safety service capital equipment and vehicles. This freed up operating funds in the police and fire department. All of these measures directly contributed to decreasing the township operating budget from $19,250,000 in 2012 to $18,900,000 in 2014. Although the economy is beginning to improve, our conservative approach to budgeting will continue. The opening of a temporary, satellite fire/EMS station off SR 131 was predicated on staffing and equipping the station with the confines of the 2014 budget.

Volunteer with Clermont Senior Services Each year in April, the nation celebrates National Volunteer Week as a way of acknowledging and thanking those people who do extraordinary things through service to others. This recognition was established in 1974 and focuses on the impact and power of volunteerism as a fundamental aspect of civic engagement and one of the most significant factors in what is great about America. The impact of volunteerism is far-reaching. For Clermont Senior Services, a not-for-profit organization, it means that we are able to serve many more people with many more services. For the citizens of this community who responsibly and honorably support the levy that provides for services for seniors in Clermont County, it is a way that this organization can leverage the funds of taxpayers through those who give so generously of their time, energy and talent. In 2013, 306 volunteers contributed 23,693 hours of their time to support the services Clermont Senior Services provides. I look at the

number of individual volunteers and the number of hours of service they provided, and I’m absolutely amazed. Better yet, the good news, and I’m always looking for the good news, is that this was actually an increase over the 22,118 hours provided in 2012. Actually, one of the very first ways I was introduced to Clermont Senior Services was because of the volunteer programs. When my daughter, Staci, was about 2 years old, my mother began taking her when she delivered meals-onwheels in the Amelia area. In fact, they “worked” as volunteers more than a year before I came to “real” work for the agency in 1983. The life lessons in caring and compassion that Staci gained through that experience with my mom played a tremendous role in making her the amazing woman she is today. And, it is also the reason that many young mothers and fathers volunteer. They want to expose their children to a way of giving back and doing good for others. I was truly blessed that my mother made this same commitment with my daughter. When you equate those hours into

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Prayers go up - blessings come down

On Thursday, May 1, we met on the courthouse steps in downtown Batavia to pray for our nation. God blessed us with dry skies after days of rain. As Ole Glory waved in the wind, patriotic hymns echoed thru the deserted streets. We thank our soloists, John Hale, Jennifer Thomas, Petra Bradley, Todd and Jenny Kritzwiser. A special thanks to our ‘sound man’ Pastor John Martin. Emcee Bob Proud introduced the elected officials who did Bible readings: Sheriff Tim Rodenberg, Tim Rudd, State Rep. Doug Green. Prayers went up for our country, our military, our county, our community and our children. We honored our vets and “hometown heroes” with applause and standing ovation as we thanked them for their service. Thanks to the area pastors who prayed for them. Before the noon service a bountiful brunch was served by the Eastgate Community Church for our elected officials, area pastors, their guests, vets from their church. In closing prayers were asked for Kevin Long, who has been deployed for his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. While “Taps” played, not only did it echo thru the streets, but in our hearts as we remembered the high price paid for freedom here in the “land of the free and home of the brave.”

Libbie Bennett Task Force Chair, Clermont County National Day of Prayer

MILFORD-MIAMI

ADVERTISER

real dollar cost, it clearly demonstrates the value that volunteers provide to services like meals-onwheels, shopping, home repair, and special events, projects and activities provided right here in Clermont County. In the State of Ohio, the estimated value of volunteer time for 2013 was $21.40 an hour. This is considered the average of varying levels of positions when placing a dollar equivalent on the generous gift of time given by volunteers. For Clermont Senior Services and for the taxpayers in Clermont County, this represents the equivalent of $507,030.20. And, what does it mean to the seniors we serve today? It isn’t the dollar equivalent, but the smile and the caring way in which the volunteers work to help them remain living in their own homes and in the neighborhood and community they love. If you would like to volunteer and serve seniors in Clermont County, contact the Volunteer Manager, Jeanne Siegel at 536-4021 or jsiegel@clermontseniors.com. Cindy Jenkins Gramke is the executive director/CEO of Clermont Senior Services

CH@TROOM May 14 question What advice would you give to graduating high school and college seniors?

“I do not envy today’s graduates due to the decreasing job market in the US. So many jobs have been moved abroad and robots and computers have replaced many others. Plus the competition is tougher than ever and many talented people are underemployed. “College is not the automatic job qualifier it was many years ago and it is also very pricey. For those graduating high school they should be sure that college is what they really want to do at this time. “A 2-4 year stint in the armed forces could add some maturing and finances for college or end up being that career after all.

T.D.T.

May 7 question What drives you crazy about other drivers?

A publication of

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION What’s your favorite summer event in the area? What do you like about it? Every week we ask readers a question they can reply to via e-mail. Send your answers to rmaloney@communitypress.com with Ch@troom in the subject line.

“Without question the thing that bothers me most about other drivers is not maintaining assured clear distance ahead (tailgating). I was taught to maintain a distance of one car length for each 10 mph, adding at least an additional length or more for slippery pavement. Not too many folks follow that rule. “It’s not surprising that there are so many rear end collisions. It drives me crazy when someone is following so close that I can’t see their headlights or grill in my rearview mirror.”

Bob D.

394 Wards Corner Road Loveland, Ohio 45140 phone: 248-8600 email: miami@communitypress.com web site: www.communitypress.com

We will continue our partnership with the County Transportation Improvement District leveraging millions of dollars in roadway improvements that the township could never afford on its own. We want to thank the citizens of Miami Township for supporting our conservative approach to funding local government services. You have told us through word of mouth and surveys that you are very satisfied with the services you receive from the township. We are committed, even with reduced resources, to provide our residents with quality and responsive service. Ken Tracy is a Miami Township trustee and Eric Ferry is Miami Township’s fiscal officer.

Recorder’s office best place to get your documents A recent increase in calls regarding the cost for obtaining a “certified” copy of a property owners deed made me aware of a property deed scheme occurring in Clermont County. National Deed Service, Registered Property Services and other companies are sending residents letters, offering to get them certified copies of their property deeds. In most cases, a property owner already has a copy of their deed, provided at closing when they purchased their property. The deed is a public record and is available at the Recorder’s Office. These companies are privately held companies, not attached to any government agency. They may have stated the importance of having a certified copy of the deed to your property or quoted the U.S Government Federal Citizens Information Center website. These services also quote a hefty price of $60, $80 and more to obtain a copy of your deed for you. Although this may not be illegal, you will be paying a significantly higher amount for a record than you would pay by requesting a copy from the recorder’s office yourself. As your county recorder, I would like to let you know the real cost of getting a certified copy of your deed, mortgage or other recorded documents. It is $2 per page and $1 to apply the certification stamp and seal. The staff of the recorder’s office can do this while you wait. You walk in and walk right out with a certified copy of your document. The average deed is three pages, the total cost of a certified copy would be $7. You will save all the time and hassle of filling out forms, mailing them in and waiting for the delivery of your certified copy. You may also access our records and get a copy free of charge through our website at: recorder.clermontcountyohio.gov and accessing our online record site at: www.uslandrecords.com . Q. What do you need to know to obtain a copy of your documents? A. The township where your property is located, the date you purchased your property and your name. Q. Can I get a copy of my mortgage and what do I need to know? A. Again, we need to know your name, township and date of your mortgage. Q. What other documents are recorded? A. Besides deeds and mortgages the recorder receives: powers of attorney, mortgage releases, assignments of mortgages, federal tax liens, homeowners association liens, Ohio job and family services liens and some leases. Q. Is an appointment necessary? A. No you can come in during normal business hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Deborah Hall Clepper is the Clermont County recorder.

Milford-Miami Advertiser Editor Richard Maloney rmaloney@communitypress.com, 248-7134 Office hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday See page A2 for additional contact information.

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