COLUMBUS – The County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) commended the Ohio Senate for supporting the counties’ request to significantly increase funding to the counties for indigent defense reimbursement and providing additional dollars to the Local Government Fund (LGF).
“These Senate budget provisions indicate the Senate’s recognition of the need to support the state’s local government partners and, for counties, is an important step in achieving the shared goal of a stronger state-county partnership,” CCAO President Julie Ehemann said. Ehemann is a Shelby County commissioner.
Achieving full funding for indigent defense reimbursement is CCAO’s main legislative priority. Gov. Mike DeWine proposed an additional $60 million each year in general revenue funds for indigent defense. The House added an additional $35 million in the second year of the biennium.
According to Ehemann, the CCAO greatly appreciates the Senate’s commitment to preserving this important increased investment in this constitutionally mandated service the counties provide on behalf of the state. If system costs would remain constant, the legislature’s level of funding in the second year of the biennium would come close to providing full reimbursement to the counties beginning in July 2020.
The Senate’s action to increase the percent of the state general revenue fund receipts that are committed to fund the Local Government Fund from the current 1.66 percent to 1.68 percent will restore $5 million in each year of the biennium to support counties, townships and municipalities that are currently being challenged with the obligation to maintain vital programs and services that serve Ohio’s citizens while experiencing limited revenue receipts.
The County Commissioners Association of Ohio advances effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.