State Issue 1 crucial for infrastructure improvements

By Heather Meade hmeade@civitasmedia.com

May 3, 2014

DARKE COUNTY - State Issue 1 has been benefiting Darke County for 27 years, said Jim Surber, Darke County engineer. Now it’s on the May 6 Primary ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment, and Surber said that nearly every single Darke County township has seen the benefits of the public infrastructure capital improvements funding.

“Passing Issue 1 will preserve a program that’s been around since 1987, which, in my opinion, has probably been the most efficient and successful state infrastructure that I’ve seen in the last 40 years,” Surber commented.

According to information released by the Secretary of State’s office, this amendment will “ensure the public health, safety, and welfare, create and preserve jobs, enhance employment opportunities, and improve the economic welfare of the people of Ohio by improving public infrastructure.”

The recipients of these monies are limited to townships, villages, cities and counties, Surber noted, and is money generated by bonds sold at the state level. Once the bonds are sold, Surber added, a sum of money is allocated statewide each year, and “it all benefits local governments.”

The Ohio Constitution currently contains a provision that authorizes the state to issue bonds that will finance public infrastructure capital improvements; State Issue 1 would reauthorize the issuance of those bonds.

“Over the past 27 years, 11,500 local sewer, water, street, road and bridge projects in all 88 Ohio counties were made possible with funds that provide up to 95 percent of the total project costs,” Surber noted. “Issue 1 is absolutely not a partisan choice and enjoys a strong tradition of bi-partisan support. Renewal is especially crucial at this time due to recent drastic cuts in funding from the Ohio State Legislature to villages, cities, townships and counties.”

According to the information released by Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office, the proposed amendment limits bond issuance to $1.875 billion over 10 years; with no more than $175 million being allocated in each of the first five fiscal years, and no more than $200 million in each of the five after that.

If approved by voters in the Primary Election, this amendment will take effect immediately.