News Politics

Weigh in on local policy issues in 2011 Hamilton County Citizen Survey

Officials are encouraging Hamilton County residents to take the 2011 Citizen Survey. The annual survey asks for input on 12 key issues including topics like the legalization of marijuana, public transportation investments, land banking policies, government consolidation efforts, and even a variety of election-related issues.

The survey takes approximately eight to ten minutes, and allows residents to share their opinions about difficult policy issues facing Hamilton County.

One of the biggest elements of the survey is the issue of government reform. Presently there are 49 different jurisdictions throughout Hamilton County. Many of which have overlapping services and functions, that if consolidated, could present significant cost savings for taxpayers.

Several questions also focus on jail overcrowding and criminal treatment programs. The issues at hand include how to immediately address the jail crowding issue while also solving the problem long-term in a cost-effective and socially acceptable manner. Two such solutions include the legalization of marijuana and an increased focus on treatment and prevention programs for repeat offenders.

Residents of Hamilton County can access the 2011 Citizen Survey online now by visiting the county’s website or by visiting the survey directly.


Increasingly urban Hamilton County Fair goes green

Last year’s 155-year-old Hamilton County Fair saw its return to relevance, with a 56% increase in fair-goers, but it also saw the debut of the GoGreen Area. The GoGreen Area of the Hamilton County Fair focuses on environmental and sustainability awareness and educational opportunities, and it got its start thanks to the frustration of a Carthage resident.

“I didn’t really like what was going on with the fair,” said Jennifer McWhorter, GoGreen Area chairwoman. “I live down the street and I really wanted to see things change and get better [at the fair], so I thought I should share some of my ideas.”

That’s exactly what McWhorter did, and with that, the GoGreen Area was born at the 2009 Hamilton County Fair. For the first year, McWhorter was able to have 23 recycling bins placed around the fair grounds in addition to the extremely popular Kids Day activities focused around her concepts.

“A lot of people out there want to go green,” explained McWhorter. “So I thought, why don’t we bring this to the fair and help make a positive change in the community. I wanted to create educational opportunities for children and other residents so that they could learn how to go green.”

McWhorter was able to do this in part because she is certified as a Master Composter and Gardener by Purdue University. She also is a practicing vermicomposter – a composting process that uses red worms. In the end, McWhorter just wanted to share her talent and passion with other people in the community.

GoGreen Area at the 2009 Hamilton County Fair – images provided.

McWhorter continued, “The Hamilton County Fair is leaning towards being more of an urban fair nowadays, and while there is still a good amount of agriculture in Hamilton County, there is a strong desire amongst people wanting to be sustainable in their urban communities throughout the county.”

This year fair-goers can look forward to GoGreen Area partnerships with Building Value, Findlay Market’s urban gardening program. The 2010 Hamilton County Fair will take place from August 10 through August 14 and will once again include the GoGreen Area. McWhorter is looking to grow the impact this year by engaging other Hamilton County residents to come up with ideas for green events that they want to make happen by contacting The GoGreen Area is also looking for a sponsor and volunteers for this year’s Kids Day.


Hamilton County "well-positioned" for future growth and prosperity

Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper gave the second annual State of the County Address on February 18. In that address, Commissioner Pepper recapped what was accomplished and experienced in a difficult 2009, and what the County needs to do to be successful in 2010. You can watch the State of the County Address yourself, or you can read through a brief summary below.

  • With record decreases in sales tax receipts (7.5%), property sales and transaction revenues (42% since 2007), and interest earnings (50%), Hamilton County was forced to make tough decisions to balance its budget and shave off 22% ($60 million) of its overall costs and back to 1998 levels.
  • Making job creation and retention a top priority, Hamilton County officials were able to create more than 50 economic development projects and create or retain 13,000 jobs.
  • The balanced budget without adding any additional tax burden on the citizens earned Hamilton County high marks in Moody’s credit rating.
  • The County’s free foreclosure counseling program has saved 2,175 homes from foreclosure and 985 in 2009 alone…thus saving the County from an estimated $50 million in lost property value.
  • The County’s new prescription drug discount card was used 17,000 times in the first year and generated savings of 21.17% for its users resulting in $200,000 of savings.
  • Of Ohio’s six largest urban counties, Hamilton County has the lowest property tax as a percentage of income, and is tied for the lowest sales tax.
  • Hamilton County’s SuperJobs center linked 2,200 people to jobs and provided job training to 660 youth in the community. New training programs are focusing on health care, construction and green job industries.
  • Public Safety takes up 70% of the County’s budget.