As we continue the economic recovery here in Ohio, we must continually look for ways to help local governments manage their costs and balance their budgets. This includes finding ways to increase government revenues without raising taxes, which would hinder the recovery and hurt Ohio families.

The quest to find viable solutions to these problems was the genesis of House Bill 387. Recently, fellow Toledo Rep. Michael Ashford and I introduced House Bill 387, which provides local governments another tool to use their resources to increase revenues. More specifically, it authorizes a board of county commissioners to enter agreements that would permit the sale and leaseback of county buildings.

This idea is similar to laws that allow state universities, for example, which may lease their facilities as a way to improve the functionality and reduce operating costs. When it comes to reducing government costs, no ideas should be left off the table, and I believe that this measure is but one idea for local municipalities to tackle budget restraints and to use public dollars more efficiently.

As many Toledo residents know, many public buildings throughout the area are in need of repair, and rehabilitating them comes at a steep cost. HB 387 would make it possible for these necessary upgrades to be completed by a private company at reduced costs. Furthermore, opening up the sale and leaseback of such projects would decrease costs by increasing competition, all while helping private employers.

In its 2011-2012 legislative program, the County Commissioners Association wrote that it supports legislation permitting these measures. It is important to note that commissioners would retain the ultimate authority to approve or reject any renovations or improvements pertaining to energy conservation or technological enhancements. Public buildings belong to the taxpayers who fund their construction and operation and thus should be protected against unauthorized changes.

However, the prospect of incorporating the ideas and efficiency of the private sector is exciting. We so often hear that government should operate with the efficiency of business, and this bill helps to make that goal more attainable.


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