After nearly a year of negotiations, the Butler and Warren County veterans boards will split advertising costs, maximizing taxpayer dollars and expanding each organization’s outreach.
The Butler County Veteran Service Commission members approved a deal where each county contributes about $50,000 to run ads on 700 WLW talk radio and several Cumulus radio stations. Butler also agreed to buy time on 55WKRC and with the Journal-News for a total buy of $81,834.
All 88 Ohio counties have a veterans service commission, appointed by county judges based on recommendations from veterans groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion. The commission’s are funded through property taxes and help veterans with emergency assistance in accessing state and federal benefits. There are an estimated 26,000 veterans in Butler County.
Butler County’s millage brings in about $3.4 million annually but historically the board has budgeted $2 million or less. The remainder of that money reverts to the county’s general fund. The Butler County veterans board budget for 2017 is $2.2 million.
“I am 100 percent for advertising with Warren County,” Butler Board President Tom Jeffers said.
Warren County Executive Director Rod Eversole said the cooperative effort will help more veterans learn about the services available to them.
“That’s a net benefit for our communities in both counties and also the surrounding counties,” he said, adding that he still intends to reach out to Hamilton and Clermont counties.
Statistical reports for November show the Butler County vet board helped 496 vets and or family members, the highest number of any month for the past five years, except for July 2014, which had the same number.
Butler County Veterans Board Commissioner Chuck Weber asked if the influx could be attributed to radio advertisements that have been running since May.
“I just think we have to have a marker that proves and verifies periodically that the ads are paying dividends,” he said. “I don’t want to be for a cause that sounds good but it doesn’t produce the results.”
Eversole said his medical transport numbers have greatly increased since the county began radio advertisements, rising 250 percent from 1,225 in 2012 to 4,282 last year.
The advertisement purchase uses up almost all of the $100,000 advertising budget for next year.
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