Ohio News Briefs

New tool to help Ohio cities, counties assess fiscal stress

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A tool designed to help Ohio’s 247 cities and 88 counties better assess their financial health and make sound budget decisions has gone live.

Republican Auditor Dave Yost rolled out a database of financial health indicators developed by his office on Wednesday and reported on the effort’s initial findings.

The indicators aim to help cities or counties identify potential problem areas and to measure their fiscal stress level. The system flags a lack of investment in capital and infrastructure; spending that exceeds revenues; declining year-end revenue balances; and declines in property-tax revenues; among other things.

The database is searchable and public.

Among the state auditor’s roles is identifying local governments and school districts to be placed in fiscal caution, fiscal watch or fiscal emergency status.

State auditor announces 2018 run for Ohio attorney general

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s state auditor has announced that he’s running for attorney general next year.

Auditor Dave Yost, a Republican, made the announcement Tuesday against a backdrop of several statewide office holders expected to jockey for new positions.

Yost was a former two-term prosecutor in Delaware County. Fighting human trafficking and the state’s addictions epidemic and supporting law enforcement officers are his top priorities.

Yost is in his second four-year term as auditor. A Democrat has yet to announce for the seat.

Mike DeWine, the current Attorney General, is expected to run for governor, as is current Secretary of State Jon Husted and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. All are Republicans.

Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, of Boardman, is among several Democrats considering a gubernatorial run.

State says painkiller prescriptions continue to fall in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state says the number of painkiller prescriptions continues to fall as Ohio battles a deadly addictions epidemic.

Data released Wednesday by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy show 631 million painkiller pills were dispensed to patients last year, down 20 percent from a high of 793 million in 2012.

The data also show a continuing decrease in the number of patients going from doctor to doctor in search of drugs thanks to the pharmacy board’s computerized reporting system, with a 78 percent drop since 2012.

The report says Ohio is making progress in reducing the supply and misuse of pain pills but the fight isn’t over.

Ohio saw a record 3,050 overdose deaths last year. Many of those deaths were attributed to painkillers and heroin abuse.

Bob Evans selling its restaurants to firm for $565 million

NEW ALBANY, Ohio (AP) — Bob Evans is selling its restaurants to a private equity firm for $565 million, splitting that part of the company from the food division that makes sausage, refrigerated side dishes and other convenience foods.

New Albany, Ohio-based Bob Evans Farms Inc. says it’s selling the restaurants to Golden Gate Capital to focus on growing the food division. It has over 500 restaurants in 18 states.

It also announced it is buying Pineland Farms Potato Company, based in Mars Hill, Maine, for at least $115 million.

Bob Evans says both deals are expected to close by year’s end.

It says the head of BEF Foods, Mike Townsley, will become Bob Evans president and chief executive. Current president and CEO Saed Mohseni will continue leading the restaurants after the split.

County OKs fairgrounds purchase in southwestern Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A southwestern Ohio county has agreed to give a university and a health care network $2 million if they buy the county’s fairgrounds and redevelop an historic roundhouse.

The Dayton Daily News reports the University of Dayton and Premier Health earlier signed a letter of intent last month to purchase the Montgomery County Fairgrounds for $15 million. County commissioners on Tuesday approved a purchase agreement for the 38-acre property.

UD and Premier agreed to pay $3 million when they close on the property and the remainder when they take ownership. But the two institutions will only have to pay $1 million of the initial $3 million if they commit to renovating or rehabbing the roundhouse building on the property.

The institutions have through February to terminate the agreement.