County to get workers comp refund check

How about a check for part of $1 billion in refunds? Sound good?

About 210,000 employers across the state will see refund checks form the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in amounts ranging from $5 to more than $3 million.

Gov. John Kasich first announced the refunds in May and attributed those refunds to “strong investment management practices.” After approval by the BWC’s board of directors, refunds began in late June, according to the Associated Press.

On Wednesday, Paul Cunningham, Washington County administrator, told Washington County Commissioners the county’s share of the $1 billion refund package was $136,939.28.

Cunningham said that share was divided among the county departments and offices and deposited back into their budgets, based on their 2012 payrolls.

The county also would have $40,219.06 added to its general fund. No decision about using that general fund amount has been made. Cunningham said the commissioners will consider revenue and other factors before allocating that money, possibly during the 2014 budget process later in the year.

“They overcharged us, so now we feel good about that,” said Commission President David White.

When Kasich announced the refunds in May, he also said the refund would not affect the lawsuit that lead a Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court judge to order the BWC to pay $859 million to 264,000 employers across the state for inflated premiums.

The department getting the largest share -$24,758.62 – is the Washington County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The smallest amounts – $13.69 – are allocated for the jury commissioner and DARE budgets.

Maxine Joy, owner of Joy Exterminators, in Marietta and Vienna, W.Va., said she received her refund check Wednesday morning. She said she saw information on the news that employers would be getting refunds.

“It was more than I thought it would be,” Joy said. “If they’ve overcharged us, yeah, I think we are entitled to it. We pay a good bit at times, considering we haven’t had any claims.”

Although Memorial Health System is one of the largest employers in the Mid-Ohio Valley, the facility is mostly privately insured, said Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations for the system. However, some of the system’s facilities, such as Glenwood Retirement Community or Harmar Place, might be eligible as they are not self-insured.

“We may be the recipient of some of those funds, and that’s great news,” Offenberger said.”We’ll reinvest them back into the people that care for our community.”

In other action Thursday, the commissioners approved the vacating of Junk Yard Lane, a dead end, 724-foot road -Junk Yard Lane (Salem Township 1356) – out of care of the Salem Township Board of Trustees. The lane will now be the responsibility of Ray and Sherilee Augenstein, owners and operators for more than 20 years of Ray’s Parts, a junkyard. The business is about 4 1/2 miles north of Lowell.

The Augensteins could no longer operate under their license and to be granted the new auto salvage license, their junk cars either had to be moved to the back of the property or fenced in with opaque fencing. Because of the land where the business sits, the fencing would have no effect. Being without the new license meant they no longer could operate the business and had no income for six months.

Earlier this week, Sherilee said she was in contact with the inspector for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the agency in charge of inspecting junk yards and issuing the new required auto salvage licenses.

The inspector told her that if Junk Yard Road were closed by the commissioners, Ray’s Parts would pass inspection and he would issue the new license next week.

None of the parties involved in the vacating request attended the Wednesday commissioners meeting.