License to Steal in Knox County

License to steal

Written by Warren Edstrom

It seems the State of Ohio has just come up with another way to squeeze more money out of the taxpayers. Ever since Gov. Kasich robbed money from municipalities and the school systems to balance the state budget, these groups have been looking for ways to replace the lost revenue.

The Ohio legislature has passed a bill that requires all property owners with septic systems to get a usage permit from the county to the tune of $66.00. In Knox County, we have approximately 18,000 properties with septic systems. That amounts to $1,188,000 in added revenue to the county health department with no increase in services to the taxpayer.  I’m sure we can trust them to do the right thing with the money. Some Township Trustees are calling it a “Boondoggle” and rightfully so.

This new mandate will assuredly add a new and expensive layer of bureaucracy, read more government employees, which will certainly be expanded down the line along with the requisite fee increases.

The insidious aspect to this measure would allow for the county or state to tighten the rules to the point where every septic system would fail to comply and everyone would be forced onto a new county sewer system. We are already seeing this happen in Knox County. In 2012 three villages in the County were mandated by the Ohio EPA to abandon their septic systems and connect to a new sewer system installed by the County. Where their septic systems cost them nothing to operate the county now charges $40.00 a month in service fees.

This “mission creep” has happened in the area of water safety where water wells that passed coliform counts 20 years ago are no longer considered safe.

According to the Mt Vernon News, “The press release, issued Friday after county offices closed, said the new sewer program rules will potentially impact more than 18,000 Knox County households. The new sewage program is part of a state wide update of household sewage rules enacted by the Ohio Legislature in 2015, according to the press release”. When you multiply this cost times 88 counties the amount is staggering especially when you consider the funds are not earmarked for a specific purpose.

The new rules establish “Modern standards for system construction, alteration and maintenance” when a septic system fails or breaks, or when a new system is installed”

A health department spokesperson stated that “If a septic system were deemed to need an “assessment” by a certified septic inspector that is where costs would potentially increase”. When you have your septic system pumped and the company doing the work sees a potential problem they will report it to the county health dept.

As of this writing the $66.00 license fee is good for 10 years but we know that once the county gets its hands in our pockets they won’t be able to resist making the fee payment good for a shorter period of time.

After calling the County Auditor’s Office I was told the $1,188,000 will go into the “Sewage Program Fund” to be spent on operation and repair of county sewage systems.


Categories: Knox, Uncategorized

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  13. Warren:
    I call them “Police, Fire, and Schools Towns,” Warren. Not so uncommon in the Rockies when either the mines and/or resources get played out or union racketeering has gotten so bad the companies simply move on to another mineral deposit. Managers move on, leaving the towns in the hands of the former union officials, many of them never having realized they have been taken for a ride by the “community organizers,” who, in turn, if they are young enough, follow along after the companies. If not, they stick around and, along with the former union bosses, “own” the town. You see this all through the western US. Good as their intentions may be, as loyal to the State and the community as they may be, the new community leaders have their hands full. While they do like the idea of a desk in City Hall, they find themselves “in charge of”
    a community with a hurting economy. In the eastern US, it is called “de-industrialization.”
    Typically, the jobs that the new boss can hand out are in city services and contracts. That means public works, fire protection, law enforcement, and public schools. So, we see towns of 25,000 with police departments that resemble precincts in Los Angeles. The Head of Public Works becomes one of the top men in town. On and on it goes, usually not getting better.
    What can turn it around is new business. At least two things stand in the way. First, an entrenched bureaucracy, accustomed to the power and not interested in change; and, second,
    legislators at the State and Federal level who have become persuaded, by political or other means, things are fine just the way they are.
    An enlightened public can go a long way to turn things around; but, as we see, that is easier said than done.

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