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State lawmakers approve recorder fee changes without revenue for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund

 an open door to a new home with key in the lock with a home-shaped keychain.
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A bill passed at the Ohio Statehouse last week modernizes record keeping for county recorders, but the final version doesn’t include an amendment requested by housing advocates.

The Ohio Housing Trust Fund distributes money throughout the state to develop affordable housing, and for homeless services. The only revenue source is half of all fees paid to county recorder offices.

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One fee is based on storing paper copies of documents, and that revenue is declining as more counties shift to electronic storage. Senate Bill 94 allows counties to charge a $5 document preservation surcharge – but does NOT split the revenue with the housing fund.

A coalition of 200 organizations sent lawmakers a letter last week urging them to amend the bill before passing it. Rep. Jamie Callender (R-Cleveland), offered an amendment to the bill in the House Finance Committee last week.

"It continues the tradition of any recorders fee or filing fee in the recorders office having a matching amount that goes to the Ohio Housing Trust Authority," Callender said.

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The amendment failed and the lawmakers ultimately passed it, along with several other bills tacked on as an omnibus measure. House Finance Committee Chair Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Athens) said the amendment would have made it difficult to pass in the Senate.

“I think there’s a great will for us to come back this fall and try to figure out a permanent solution," Edwards said.

State lawmakers are now on summer recess.

The Ohio Housing Trust Fund awarded nearly $2 million to Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren counties in 2024. You can see awards for all Ohio counties on the Ohio Housing Trust Fund project map.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.