Fiscal Note & Local Impact Statement

124 th General Assembly of Ohio


Ohio Legislative Service Commission

77 South High Street, 9th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215-6136 ² Phone: (614) 466-3615

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Sub. S.B. 255


May 22, 2002


As Reported by Senate Ways & Means


Sen. Blessing Jr.






Revises the provisions on the use of public right-of-ways by utility service providers and cable operators and makes other changes.


State Fiscal Highlights


·        May increase cost to Public Utilities Commission.

Local Fiscal Highlights



FY 2002

FY 2003


Counties and other local governments


Potential loss

Potential loss

Potential loss


Potential increase

Potential increase

Potential increase

Note: For most local governments, the fiscal year is the calendar year. The school district fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.


·        There would be a decrease in county and local government revenues from fees for use of public right of ways.

·        While cable companies would be subject to the right of ways fees, they would receive an offset for them against franchise fees charged by municipalities.  This provision is revenue neutral since federal law limits the fees that municipalities may charge cable companies.

·        There would be an increase in local government expenditures to manage public right of ways. Municipalities may also incur additional legal costs if they are required to appear before the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) to justify the fees charged for use of the public right of ways.



Detailed Fiscal Analysis


The bill proposes to revise the statute governing the use of the public ways. It would include pipeline companies in the definition of utility companies. It establishes criteria for fees charged by municipalities to utilities and cable companies for the use of public right of ways. It will limit the fees to the cost that municipalities ‘actually incurred and can clearly demonstrate’ or that ‘can be properly allocated and assigned for occupancy or use of public ways’.  It provides a mechanism for utilities in certain circumstances to recover the cost in their rates by applying to the Public Utilities Commission (PUCO). This could increase utility rates of the companies affected by the right of way charges.


The bill gives utilities the ability to appeal fees established by municipal corporations to PUCO. If PUCO finds that the fees are unreasonable, PUCO could suspend the public ways fees not only for the utility that filed the complaint but for all other utilities paying the fees. The municipality could later recover the lost fees only if the PUCO found that the fee was not unreasonable. 


The bill declares an emergency.


LSC fiscal staff:  Ruhaiza Ridzwan, Economist