Aerial view of Springfield City Hall on April 24, 2017. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Clark County businesses, agencies to get $9M rebate from state

Businesses and public employers in Clark and Champaign Counties will receive more than $13 million from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation as part of the agency’s $1 billion statewide rebate made possible by better-expected returns on the $24.6 billion fund.

It’s the third time the state has provided the rebate since 2013.

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In all, Clark County organizations will receive a little less than $10 million, spread between 1,515 private employers and 33 public employers, including schools and local governments, according to information from the state released Monday. Champaign County will receive more than $3.2 million, spread between more than 480 private employers and 32 public entities.

Private employers weren’t disclosed, but information from the state showed public employers in Clark County will receive slightly more than $1.6 million in the form of a rebate on their worker compensation premiums. Private employers throughout the county will receive more than $8.3 million.

A 12-county area in southwest Ohio including Clark, Champaign, Butler, Greene, Montgomery and Warren counties will see an influx of more than $135 million.

The rebates come with “no strings attached” but recipients are urged to spend the money on safety initiatives that can keep future premiums in check, said Sarah Morrison, administrator/CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

“The employers can use it however they would like to,” Morrison said. “We, of course, are encouraging employers to use that money to invest in their employees; to invest in safety; maybe take some opportunities to put in new equipment: guardrails, those sorts of things.”

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Springfield City Schools will receive just shy of $300,000, while the city of Springfield will receive about $438,000.

In Springfield City Hall, the rebate will simply be put back into departments that originally paid those premiums, said Mark Beckdahl, finance director for the city.

“We charge worker’s compensation to individual accounts whether that be the general fund or the street fund depending on people’s wages, and then we put that money back into those accounts,” he said. “It’s a nice return of money for expenses that we had previously.”

The agency sets workers’ comp premiums assuming a 4.5 percent return on its investments, but Morrison said over the last several years funds yielded 7 percent.

“So we are in a good position that we can return this money to Ohio employers,” Morrison said.

There is no registration or application process for employers. Checks are being mailed automatically, she said. The first rebates went out last week and a staggered mailing schedule should have nearly 180,000 checks all to their destinations by early August.

Morrison said strong fiscal management and better-than-expected investment returns have increased the net position of the State Insurance Fund to $9.6 billion, making the rebate possible. Private and public entities that that pay into the State Insurance Fund were eligible for the rebate.

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The rebate sum equals roughly two-thirds of an employer’s premium for the 2015 policy year, according to BWC.

Though the rebate figure for each private employer is not public information, Ohio private employers will receive about 88 percent of all rebate dollars.

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The rebate will also be beneficial to business owners in both counties, said Mike McDorman, president and CEO of the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

“It’s great news for our local employers as well as our public entities who will be getting money back,” McDorman said. “The state pool has done better than they anticipated so that enables them to pass that along in the way of a rebate to those companies who are putting money into the bureau.”

Staff Writer Chris Stewart contributed to this story.

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