What’s your county’s share of Ohio’s $3.5 billion capital budget?

The $3.5 billion capital projects bill the Ohio General Assembly passed this week includes $74 million for specific projects in Miami Valley counties.

Montgomery County will get a total of $18.6 million, with $1.7 million going for work at facilities owned by Central State University, the University of Cincinnati and Wright State University.

But the big recipient is Sinclair Community College, slated to receive more than $13 million, including $5 million for Advanced Manufacturing and Skilled Trades training hubs and $4 million to install fire sprinkler systems.

In Butler County, $26.8 million will be distributed for various projects, with $22.9 million of that going to Miami University – primarily for renovation of Bachelor Hall, which is $22.3 million. That is the largest single distribution in the region.

Clark County is set to get $4.9 million, with nearly $3.4 million of that going to Clark State Community College. Almost all of that money goes for renovation of Rhodes Hall and Applied Science Center. The Springfield Art Museum and A.B. Graham Memorial will each get $750,000.

The bulk of $15 million going to Greene County will be spent at Wright State University at almost $11 million, with $4 million of that going to improve campus energy efficiency. Central State University will get $2 million.

Miami County will receive $3 million, including nearly $2 million for Edison Community College. The largest amount there is $800,000 to expand the Convocation Center.

The remaining million goes for other local projects, including $500,000 to the Miami Valley Military History Museum.

Fourteen projects in Warren County will share $3.3 million, with the biggest single item being $750,000 for bridge repair on the Lebanon Scenic Railway.

Requests and results

Many of the funded projects in the Dayton region went through the Dayton Development Coalition’s Priority Development and Advocacy Committee. Packaging the requests from local entities goes through PDAC, but supporters of individual projects advocate for them with legislators.

Montgomery County got $7.7 million for 23 projects this time, compared with $7.3 million for 17 projects in the last capital budget bill, said Michael Gessel, DDC vice president of federal government programs, who oversees the PDAC process.

“The overall dollar amount for Montgomery County seems to follow the state trend,” he said via email.

A much longer list of projects went through the PDAC process, but only some got state funding.

“The PDAC process is open to all projects seeking funding from any source,” Gessel said. “That includes federal Congressionally-earmarked funding and funding from other public and private sources. Some of the sponsors who submit projects are not even seeking State Capital funding (or they are not eligible for State Capital funding).”

The PDAC list of projects that received funding shows the disparity between requests and appropriations.

The city of Dayton asked for $5 million for the Day Air Ballpark, but got a tenth of that. Ronald McDonald House Charities Dayton asked for $2 million to build a new Ronald McDonald House, and got a $750,000 appropriation. The city of West Carrollton in Montgomery County wanted $6 million for riverfront development, but got $250,000.

In Clark County, the city of Springfield asked for $2.5 million for the Interstate 70 interchange at State Route 72, and got $750,000.

But some requests were fully funded: Dayton International Airport and Sinclair Community College sought $250,000 for an aircraft mechanic training center and got it.

In Greene County, the Glen Helen Association sought $750,000 for accessibility improvements to the Glen Helen Nature Preserve. That’s also to be fully funded.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Local influence

Area legislators touted funding for projects in their home districts.

“This was a real team effort from the Dayton area representatives to help touch all four corners of the county,” state Rep. Andrea White, R-Kettering, said in a news release. “Together, we advocated for the entire region and worked to give communities a voice during the process to help fund projects that will have a lasting impact for our neighborhoods and cities.”

State Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Butler Twp., noted the Dayton YWCA will get $500,000 to renovate a 19-acre site in Huber Heights as a campus providing victim services, affordable housing and youth empowerment programs. The Vandalia Art Park will get $300,000 to build an amphitheater stage, expand seating and improve audio equipment, he said.

“For this capital budget, we focused on strengthening community assets that will help increase quality of life and help our citizens flourish,” Plummer said in a news release.

State Rep. Brian Lampton, R-Beavercreek, pointed to $75,000 for a new memorial park in Fairborn, $90,000 for a new veterans’ memorial park in Sugarcreek Township, and $75,000 to improve boat access to the Little Miami River in Greene County.

Public radio station WYSO 91.3 FM will get $300,000 toward the $8.7 million cost of rebuilding its headquarters in Yellow Springs, Lampton said. Also, Wright State University will get $10.8 million for infrastructure and building safety.

“The university is a staple in our community,” he said in a news release. “These funds will go a long way to improve the university for generations to come.”

Statewide spending

The capital budget is used for renovation or construction projects at state-owned buildings, school districts and public colleges; infrastructure grants and loans to local governments; and direct funding of “community projects of local or regional importance.”

The package is about $200 million bigger than originally presented. It includes $191 million in community projects, up from an earlier estimate of $163.5 million

Those include mental health and drug treatment facilities, facilities for people with developmental disabilities, parks, recreation and conservation projects, historical and cultural facilities, and agricultural society improvements.

More than $2.7 billion of the total is expected to come from sale of state bonds, which usually have a repayment period of 15 to 20 years, according to state Office of Budget and Management Director Kimberly Murnieks.

The remaining $594 million will come from other sources, including some from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The capital budget covers the two-year period which ends June 30, 2024.

More than $1.2 billion of the money is incentives for Intel, which has promised a $20 billion investment to build two computer chip plants just northeast of Columbus.

Intel praised the bill in a news release and said it will continue to seek more federal funding for its project. Progressive group Policy Matters Ohio called for greater accountability in tracking Intel’s incentives, largely echoing proposals that state Rep. Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood, made during House debate on the bill.

Altogether Intel and its suppliers will benefit from more than $2 billion in grants and tax exemptions in the coming years – an unprecedented amount, he said. Skindell and Policy Matters sought guarantees that most of Intel’s new employees would be Ohioans, and precise details of all incentives and how they could be reclaimed if Intel doesn’t meet its announced goals.

The Republican-dominated House voted down Skindell’s amendment 54-36.

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