130th Ohio General Assembly
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Sub. H. B. No. 338As Recommitted to the Senate Energy, Natural Resources and Environment Committee
As Recommitted to the Senate Energy, Natural Resources and Environment Committee

124th General Assembly
Regular Session
2001-2002
Sub. H. B. No. 338


REPRESENTATIVES Core, Calvert, Sullivan, Allen, Webster, Husted, Lendrum, Kearns, Hollister, Kilbane, Fedor, Perry, Hagan, Reinhard, Manning, Damschroder, Grendell, Niehaus, Clancy, Collier, Faber, Wolpert, Flowers, Carmichael, Latta, Olman, Schaffer, Evans, Peterson, Setzer, Jolivette, Schmidt, Roman, Redfern, Coates, Aslanides, Flannery, Fessler, Salerno



A BILL
To amend sections 317.08, 1515.02, 1515.15, and 1515.24 and to repeal sections 1515.25, 1515.26, and 1515.27 of the Revised Code to eliminate the authority for referendums on assessments levied for improvements under the soil and water conservation statutes, to require that property owners be notified of uniform assessments under those statutes by first class mail in lieu of notification by publication, and to require a county recorder to record any restrictions on the use of property identified pursuant to the State Fire Marshal's rules regarding releases from petroleum underground storage tanks.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1.  That sections 317.08, 1515.02, 1515.15, and 1515.24 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:
Sec. 317.08.  Except as provided in division (F) of this section, the county recorder shall keep six separate sets of records as follows:
(A) A record of deeds, in which shall be recorded all deeds and other instruments of writing for the absolute and unconditional sale or conveyance of lands, tenements, and hereditaments; all notices as provided for in sections 5301.47 to 5301.56 of the Revised Code; all judgments or decrees in actions brought under section 5303.01 of the Revised Code; all declarations and bylaws as provided for in Chapter 5311. of the Revised Code; affidavits as provided for in section 5301.252 of the Revised Code; all certificates as provided for in section 5311.17 of the Revised Code; all articles dedicating archaeological preserves accepted by the director of the Ohio historical society under section 149.52 of the Revised Code; all articles dedicating nature preserves accepted by the director of natural resources under section 1517.05 of the Revised Code; all agreements for the registration of lands as archaeological or historic landmarks under section 149.51 or 149.55 of the Revised Code; all conveyances of conservation easements and agricultural easements under section 5301.68 of the Revised Code; all instruments extinguishing agricultural easements under section 901.21 or 5301.691 of the Revised Code or pursuant to terms of such an easement granted to a charitable organization under section 5301.68 of the Revised Code; all instruments or orders described in division (B)(1)(c)(ii) of section 5301.56 of the Revised Code; all no further action letters issued under section 122.654 or 3746.11 of the Revised Code; all covenants not to sue issued under section 3746.12 of the Revised Code, including all covenants not to sue issued pursuant to section 122.654 of the Revised Code; any restrictions on the use of property contained in a no further action letter issued under section 122.654 of the Revised Code and, any restrictions on the use of property identified pursuant to division (C)(3) of section 3746.10 of the Revised Code, and any restrictions on the use of property identified pursuant to rules adopted under division (B) of section 3737.882 of the Revised Code; all memoranda of trust, as described in division (A) of section 5301.255 of the Revised Code, that describe specific real property; and all agreements entered into under division (A) of section 1521.26 of the Revised Code;
(B) A record of mortgages, in which shall be recorded all of the following:
(1) All mortgages, including amendments, supplements, modifications, and extensions of mortgages, or other instruments of writing by which lands, tenements, or hereditaments are or may be mortgaged or otherwise conditionally sold, conveyed, affected, or encumbered;
(2) All executory installment contracts for the sale of land executed after September 29, 1961, that by their terms are not required to be fully performed by one or more of the parties to them within one year of the date of the contracts;
(3) All options to purchase real estate, including supplements, modifications, and amendments of the options, but no option of that nature shall be recorded if it does not state a specific day and year of expiration of its validity;
(4) Any tax certificate sold under section 5721.33 of the Revised Code, or memorandum thereof, that is presented for filing of record.
(C) A record of powers of attorney, including all memoranda of trust, as described in division (A) of section 5301.255 of the Revised Code, that do not describe specific real property;
(D) A record of plats, in which shall be recorded all plats and maps of town lots, of the subdivision of town lots, and of other divisions or surveys of lands, any center line survey of a highway located within the county, the plat of which shall be furnished by the director of transportation or county engineer, and all drawings as provided for in Chapter 5311. of the Revised Code;
(E) A record of leases, in which shall be recorded all leases, memoranda of leases, and supplements, modifications, and amendments of leases and memoranda of leases;
(F) A record of declarations executed pursuant to section 2133.02 of the Revised Code and durable powers of attorney for health care executed pursuant to section 1337.12 of the Revised Code.
All instruments or memoranda of instruments entitled to record shall be recorded in the proper record in the order in which they are presented for record. The recorder may index, keep, and record in one volume unemployment compensation liens, internal revenue tax liens and other liens in favor of the United States as described in division (A) of section 317.09 of the Revised Code, personal tax liens, mechanic's liens, agricultural product liens, notices of liens, certificates of satisfaction or partial release of estate tax liens, discharges of recognizances, excise and franchise tax liens on corporations, broker's liens, and liens provided for in sections 1513.33, 1513.37, 3752.13, 5111.021, and 5311.18 of the Revised Code.
The recording of an option to purchase real estate, including any supplement, modification, and amendment of the option, under this section shall serve as notice to any purchaser of an interest in the real estate covered by the option only during the period of the validity of the option as stated in the option.
(G) In lieu of keeping the six separate sets of records required in divisions (A) to (F) of this section and the records required in division (H) of this section, a county recorder may record all the instruments required to be recorded by this section in two separate sets of record books. One set shall be called the "official records" and shall contain the instruments listed in divisions (A), (B), (C), (E), (F), and (H) of this section. The second set of records shall contain the instruments listed in division (D) of this section.
(H) Except as provided in division (G) of this section, the county recorder shall keep a separate set of records containing all corrupt activity lien notices filed with the recorder pursuant to section 2923.36 of the Revised Code and a separate set of records containing all medicaid fraud lien notices filed with the recorder pursuant to section 2933.75 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 1515.02.  There is hereby established in the department of natural resources the Ohio soil and water conservation commission. The commission shall consist of seven members of equal status and authority, four of whom shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, and one of whom shall be designated by resolution of the board of directors of the Ohio federation of soil and water conservation districts. The other two members shall be the director of agriculture and the vice-president for agricultural administration of the Ohio state university. The director of natural resources may participate in the deliberations of the commission, but without the power to vote. A vacancy in the office of an appointed member shall be filled by the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his the member's predecessor was appointed shall hold office for the remainder of such that term. Of the appointed members, two shall be farmers and all shall be persons who have a knowledge of or interest in the natural resources of the state. Not more than two of the appointed members shall be members of the same political party.
Terms of office of the member designated by the board of directors of the federation and the members appointed by the governor shall be for four years, commencing on the first day of July and ending on the thirtieth day of June.
Each appointed member shall hold office from the date of his appointment until the end of the term for which he the member was appointed. Any appointed member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of his the member's term until his the member's successor takes office, or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first.
The commission shall organize by selecting from its members a chairman chairperson and a vice-chairman vice-chairperson. The commission shall hold at least one regular meeting in each quarter of each calendar year and shall keep a record of its proceedings, which shall be open to the public for inspection. Special meetings may be called by the chairman chairperson and shall be called by him the chairperson upon receipt of a written request signed by two or more members of the commission. Written notice of the time and place of each meeting shall be sent to each member of the commission. A majority of the commission shall constitute a quorum.
The commission may adopt rules as necessary to carry out the purposes of Chapter 1515. of the Revised Code this chapter, subject to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.
The governor may remove any appointed member of the commission at any time for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office, after giving to the member a copy of the charges against him the member and an opportunity to be heard publicly in person or by counsel in his the member's defense. Any such act of removal by the governor is final. A statement of the findings of the governor, the reason for his the governor's action, and the answer, if any, of the member shall be filed by the governor with the secretary of state and shall be open to public inspection.
All members of the commission shall be reimbursed for the necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties as members.
Upon recommendation by the commission, the director of natural resources shall designate an executive secretary and provide staff necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the commission. The commission may utilize the services of such staff members in the college of agriculture of the Ohio state university as may be agreed upon by the commission and the college.
The commission shall have the following duties and powers do all of the following:
(A) To determine Determine distribution of funds under section 1515.14 of the Revised Code, to recommend to the director of natural resources and other agencies the levels of appropriations to special funds established to assist soil and water conservation districts, and to recommend the amount of federal funds to be requested and policies for the use of such funds in support of soil and water conservation district programs;
(B) To assist Assist in keeping the supervisors of soil and water conservation districts informed of their powers and duties, program opportunities, and the activities and experience of all other districts, and to facilitate the interchange of advice, experience, and cooperation between such the districts;
(C) To seek Seek the cooperation and assistance of the federal government or any of its agencies, and of agencies of this state, in the work of such the districts;
(D) To adopt Adopt appropriate rules governing the conduct of referendums or elections provided for in Chapter 1515. of the Revised Code this chapter, subject to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, provided that only owners and occupiers of lands situated within the boundaries of the districts or proposed districts to which the referendums or elections apply shall be eligible to vote in such referendums or the elections;
(E) To recommend Recommend to the director of natural resources priorities for planning and construction of small watershed projects, and to make recommendations to the director of natural resources concerning coordination of programs as proposed and implemented in agreements with soil and water conservation districts;
(F) To recommend Recommend to the director of natural resources, the governor, and the general assembly programs and legislation with respect to the operations of soil and water conservation districts which that will encourage proper soil, water, and other natural resource management and promote the economic and social development of the state.
Sec. 1515.15.  A board of county commissioners may apply to the Ohio soil and water conservation commission for an advance of moneys from the soil and water conservation fund, which is hereby created in the state treasury, to enable such a soil and water conservation district to pay all or part of the cost of surveys and plans, appraisals, estimates of cost, land options, and other incidental expenses of constructing works of improvement for a soil and water conservation the district. The commission shall consider such the application and shall recommend an amount of moneys reasonably needed for such that purpose.
The order of the commission recommending the amount of such the moneys needed shall be certified to the controlling board. The controlling board shall then determine the amount to be advanced to the county and shall certify its action to the director of budget and management for payment.
All such amounts received by any such district shall be repaid by the board of county commissioners to the state immediately upon the receipt by the board of funds from the sale of bonds or from other sources which that may be used for that purpose, or in such number of equal annual installments, not exceeding five, and commencing at such time, as shall be specified in the order of the commission.
Upon receipt of sufficient and satisfactory evidence that the board and district have proceeded in good faith and If an unfavorable referendum or court decision has denied the work of improvement, the controlling board, upon receipt of sufficient and satisfactory evidence that the board and district have proceeded in good faith and the recommendation of the commission, shall relieve the board or district of its repayment obligation.
Sec. 1515.24.  (A) Upon receipt of a certification made by the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district pursuant to section 1515.20 of the Revised Code, the board of county commissioners may levy upon the property within the project area an assessment at a uniform or varied rate based upon the benefit to the area certified by the supervisors, as necessary to pay the cost of construction of the improvement not otherwise funded and to repay advances made for purposes of the improvement from the fund created by section 1515.15 of the Revised Code. The board of county commissioners shall direct the person or authority preparing assessments to give primary consideration, in determining a parcel's estimated assessments relating to the disposal of water, to the potential increase in productivity that the parcel may experience as a result of the improvement and also to give consideration to the amount of water disposed of, the location of the property relative to the project, the value of the project to the watershed, and benefits as defined in section 6131.01 of the Revised Code. The part of the assessment that is found to benefit state, county, or township roads or highways or municipal streets shall be assessed against the state, county, township, or municipal corporation, respectively, payable from motor vehicle revenues. The part of the assessment that is found to benefit property owned by any public corporation, any political subdivision of the state, or the state shall be assessed against the public corporation, the political subdivision, or the state and shall be paid out of the general funds or motor vehicle revenues of the public corporation, the political subdivision of the state, or the state, except as otherwise provided by law.
(B) The assessment shall be certified to the county auditor and by the county auditor to the county treasurer. The collection of the assessment shall conform in all matters to Chapter 323. of the Revised Code. Any
(C) Any land owned and managed by the department of natural resources for wildlife, recreation, nature preserve, or forestry purposes is exempt from assessments if the director of natural resources determines that the land derives no benefit from the improvement. In making such a determination, the director shall consider the purposes for which the land is owned and managed and any relevant articles of dedication or existing management plans for the land. If the director determines that the land derives no benefit from the improvement, the director shall notify the board of county commissioners, within thirty days after receiving the assessment notification required by this section, indicating that the director has determined that the land is to be exempt and explaining the specific reason for making this determination. The board of county commissioners, within thirty days after receiving the director's exemption notification, may appeal the determination to the court of common pleas. If the court of common pleas finds in favor of the board of county commissioners, the department of natural resources shall pay all court costs and legal fees.
If the assessment is to be made at a varied rate, the (D)(1) The board shall give notice by first class mail to every public and private property owner whose property is subject to assessment, at the tax mailing or other known address of the owner. The notice shall contain a statement of the amount to be assessed against the property of the addressee, a description of the method used to determine the necessity for and the amount of the proposed assessment, and a statement that the addressee may file an objection in writing at the office of the board of county commissioners within thirty days after the mailing of notice. If the residence of any owner cannot be ascertained, or if any mailed notice is returned undelivered, the board shall publish the notice to all such owners in a newspaper of general circulation within the project area, at least once each week for three weeks, which notice shall include the information contained in the mailed notice, but shall state that the owner may file an objection in writing at the office of the board of county commissioners within thirty days after the last publication of the notice.
(2) Upon receipt of objections as provided in this section, the board shall proceed within thirty days to hold a final hearing on the objections by fixing a date and giving notice by first class mail to the objectors at the address provided in filing the objection. If any mailed notice is returned undelivered, the board shall give due notice to the objectors in a newspaper of general circulation in the project area, stating the time, place, and purpose of the hearing. Upon hearing the objectors, the board may amend and shall approve the final schedule of assessments by journal entry.
(3) Any owner whose objection is not allowed may appeal within thirty days to the court of common pleas of the county in which the property is located.
(4) After final notice is provided by mail or publication, or after the final disposition of an appeal in which the imposition of assessments is upheld, the board of county commissioners shall make an order approving the levying of the assessment and proceed under section 6131.23 of the Revised Code.
(5) The county treasurer shall deposit the proceeds of the assessment in the fund designated by the board and shall report to the county auditor the amount of money from the assessment that is collected by the treasurer. Moneys shall be expended from the fund for purposes of the improvement.
(E) Any moneys collected in excess of the amount needed for construction of the improvement and the subsequent first year's maintenance may be maintained in a fund to be used for maintenance of the improvement. In any year subsequent to a year in which an assessment for construction of an improvement levied under this section has been collected, and upon determination by the board of county commissioners that funds are not otherwise available for maintenance or repair of the improvement, the board shall levy on the property within the project area an assessment for maintenance at a uniform percentage of all construction costs based upon the assessment schedule used in determining the construction assessment. The assessment is not subject to the provisions concerning notice and petition contained in this section 1515.25 of the Revised Code. An assessment for maintenance shall not be levied in any year in which the unencumbered balance of funds available for maintenance of the improvement exceeds twenty per cent of the cost of construction of the improvement, except that the board may adjust the level of assessment within the twenty per cent limitation, or suspend temporarily the levying of an assessment, for maintenance purposes as maintenance funds are needed.
For the purpose of levying an assessment for maintenance of an improvement, a board may use the procedures established in Chapter 6137. of the Revised Code regarding maintenance of improvements as defined in section 6131.01 of the Revised Code in lieu of using the procedures established under this section.
(F) The board of county commissioners may issue bonds and notes as authorized by section 131.23 or 133.17 of the Revised Code.
Section 2.  That existing sections 317.08, 1515.02, 1515.15, and 1515.24 and sections 1515.25, 1515.26, and 1515.27 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.
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