Cap sought on Clinton County endowment fund fee


County talks continue on ‘Legacy Fund’

By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



Clinton County Foundation Executive Director Jan Blohm takes part in Wednesday’s discussion on the planned endowment fund.

Clinton County Foundation Executive Director Jan Blohm takes part in Wednesday’s discussion on the planned endowment fund.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

The Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) is coordinating an AARP Age-Friendly initiative for Clinton Countians. From left are RPC’s Stephen Crouch and Taylor Stuckert.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

In the foreground, Clinton County Board of Elections (BOE) Chairperson Steve Fricke speaks Wednesday with commissioners, as Republican nominee for commissioner Mike McCarty, center background, and BOE Deputy Director Jay Peterson listen.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — County commissioners want to see a cap on the cost of administering a planned endowment fund from the community foundation that will be the fund’s steward.

Upon hearing that the 1 percent fee charged by the Clinton County Foundation goes mostly toward the expense to invest the endowment-fund money, Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed suggested a cap on what the Foundation would receive for other type of things that come under the category of administration (such as the executive director’s salary, producing an annual report, etc.).

Clinton County Foundation Executive Director Jan Blohm said she would take that wish back to the Foundation’s board.

Discussion continued Wednesday about the planned Clinton County endowment fund that will contain money the county received from the sale of CMH properties, plus $2.9 million that the former county-owned hospital generated doing business. Creation of the new fund will generate interest revenue for local projects, and the money will be awarded after a competitive application process.

County legal counsel and Assistant Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew McCoy recommended that if the commissioners want to adopt a spending policy either year by year or generally, the policy should be referred to in the agreement document with the Foundation being written now.

An example of spelling out a spending policy is having a written guideline regarding what percentage of the net interest income potentially could be spent, and then how much of the net income should be reinvested back into the fund’s principal.

Another thing that could be addressed in a spending policy, said McCoy, is the prospect that a future set of county commissioners might decide to respond to a fund request from a governmental office by using money from the endowment fund instead of the county’s General Fund.

McCoy said he was raising that scenario for commissioners to be aware of.

Commissioners did not decide Wednesday how much the endowment fund’s start-up amount will be, but there appears to be agreement among them not to deposit all currently available “hospital funds” at the start.

The not-for-profit Clinton County Foundation was founded in 1985 as a charitable community organization with a 15-person governing board. The Foundation invests money to provide Clinton County organizations with financial support to continue the work that improves and enhances our communities, states the Foundation’s website.

In other business Wednesday at the commissioners office:

• Commissioners voted in support of the county joining the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Network of Age-Friendly Communities. There is no fee to be a member. If AARP accepts the county’s application, membership includes a commitment by the county’s elected leadership “to actively work toward making their town, city or county a great place for people of all ages” [italics are AARP’s].

The Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) is coordinating the Age-Friendly initiative in Clinton County.

In the application the RPC states that while the county already has a commitment to older adults, local leadership wishes to address potential shortcomings.

Through a survey and many focus groups, the RPC has identified middle-income housing, rural transportation, and information about available senior services as recurring themes or concerns, according to the RPC.

Nearly 22 percent of county residents are 60 or older, according to 2016 data cited by the RPC.

• Clinton County Board of Elections (BOE) Chairperson Steve Fricke and the BOE’s executive and deputy directors met with commissioners in a meeting that held some tension.

The BOE officials told the commissioners the BOE, according to state law, is responsible for fixing the compensation of BOE employees. Commissioners however said they aren’t trying to micro-manage, but rather were seeking to exercise fiscal oversight or management because of prior situations with other county departments.

The BOE anticipates filling a staff vacancy in the elections office shortly.

• At a commissioners appointment with the Clinton County Budget Commission, members of the county auditor’s office stated the county’s revenue from sales tax is expected to be down about 11 percent this year.

County Auditor Terry Habermehl and his staffer Logan Bailey attributed the drop primarily to Ohio’s Medicaid MCO sales tax no longer being a permissible taxing method. This federal rule change also impacts local sales taxes, in addition to the state sales tax.

The reduction in Medicaid sales tax revenue for Clinton County is about $840,000 per year, as previously reported.

In addition, the county let a 0.5 percent local sales tax roll off at the end of September 2016. In its last full year, that sales tax generated about $2.8 million for the county.

The projected 11 percent reduction this year in the county’s sales tax revenue mentioned above does not include the funds lost when the 0.5 percent local sales tax rolled off, said Bailey.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Clinton County Foundation Executive Director Jan Blohm takes part in Wednesday’s discussion on the planned endowment fund.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_blohm.jpgClinton County Foundation Executive Director Jan Blohm takes part in Wednesday’s discussion on the planned endowment fund. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

The Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) is coordinating an AARP Age-Friendly initiative for Clinton Countians. From left are RPC’s Stephen Crouch and Taylor Stuckert.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_ccrpc.jpgThe Clinton County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) is coordinating an AARP Age-Friendly initiative for Clinton Countians. From left are RPC’s Stephen Crouch and Taylor Stuckert. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

In the foreground, Clinton County Board of Elections (BOE) Chairperson Steve Fricke speaks Wednesday with commissioners, as Republican nominee for commissioner Mike McCarty, center background, and BOE Deputy Director Jay Peterson listen.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_fricke.jpgIn the foreground, Clinton County Board of Elections (BOE) Chairperson Steve Fricke speaks Wednesday with commissioners, as Republican nominee for commissioner Mike McCarty, center background, and BOE Deputy Director Jay Peterson listen. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
County talks continue on ‘Legacy Fund’

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com