Attorney Debbie Pleatman Completes Collaborative Law Introductory Interdisciplinary Training

We at Ziegler & Schneider are pleased to announce that attorney Debbie Pleatman completed the two-day Collaborative Law Introductory Interdisciplinary Training presented by the Central Ohio Academy of Collaborative Divorce Professionals. This training allows Debbie to engage in the collaborative law process with other Collaborative professionals.

The collaborative law process is used primarily in this area for family law matters. In short, the parties enter into an agreement to negotiate in good faith to settle the legal matter without resorting to the court system. The parties provide all relevant information and they engage neutral experts and professionals to assist in resolving issues. It provides an alternate method to resolve issues based on individual and family goals. Debbie is looking forward to engaging in the collaborative process for the benefit of her clients.


Attorney Michael A. Duncan Appointed and Approved as Attorney for City of Walton, Kentucky

Ziegler & Schneider is happy to announce that attorney Michael A. Duncan has recently been appointed and approved as attorney for the City of Walton, Kentucky.  Mike also serves as City Attorney for the City of Alexandria (since 1991), Warsaw (since 2001) and Falmouth (since 2015); and was City Attorney for Villa Hills from 2001 to 2013.  Mike also serves as General Counsel for the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky and the Campbell County Board of Adjustment, in addition to representation of other public and private clients.


Attorney Shane Sidebottom, Attorney Daniel Hunt and Attorney Justin Sanders Among Those Selected as Kentucky Super Lawyer and Rising Star

Ziegler & Schneider, P.S.C., is pleased to announce that attorney Shane Sidebottom, has been selected as a 2018 Kentucky Super Lawyer in the area of General Litigation, attorney Daniel Hunt has been selected as a 2018 Kentucky Super Lawyer Rising Star in the area of Personal Injury-Products Defense and attorney Justin Sanders has been selected as a 2018 Kentucky Super Lawyer Rising Star in the area of Civil Litigation. Shane has been selected as a Super Lawyer the previous six years; this is Dan’s second selection as a Rising Star, and Justin’s second selection as a Rising Star as a member of Ziegler & Schneider.

Kentucky Super Lawyers is an independent peer nomination publication that evaluates Lawyers in 12 key categories of skill. Only 5% of all Kentucky Lawyers are listed as a Super Lawyer; only 2.5% of eligible Kentucky lawyers receive a Rising Star evaluation.


Real Estate Housing Market in 2018

Real Estate Housing Market in 2018
By Catherine D. Stavros

 The 2017 real estate market will finish strong with existing-home sales at 5.47 million, a 0.4 percent year-over-year increase from 2016.  For 2018, the increase should increase from 3.7 percent to 5.67 million.  The national median existing-home price is predicted to rise to around 5.5 percent in 2018. The average home price climbed to $199,616 in 2017 compared to $194,086   in 2016 and increase of 2.86%.

Some of the same predictions for 2017 will continue true in 2018. Inventory is low; interest rates remain low; the average price of property, in general continues to rise and the economy appears to be strong.

There is a shortage in inventory and this will continue to push up home prices.  There are 12 percent fewer homes to select from nationwide and many homes for sale are out of the price range for first-time buyers. Some of the economists predict that this shortfall will ease up in the second half of 2018. Entry-level homes will continue to see price gains due to the larger number of buyers that can afford them and more limited homes available for sale in this price range.

New construction will rise and many of those homes will be starter homes. Economists are predicting 1.33 million new housing starts in 2018 – up from 1.22 million in 2017.

Millennials are a key factor to consider.  With the great recession and college student loan debt, millennials are behind a few years in making a home purchase. Many millennials will move to the suburbs and away from renting in the urban centers.  They may prefer urban area with entertainment and shopping options; however, they will not be able to afford housing in those areas. Millennials seem to be having more ability at taking out mortgages on homes at varying prices and not just starter homes. They are seeing an increase in income and even though they may have large student debt, they can take on larger mortgages partly because of the overall strong economy and their career development. Millennials could reach 43 percent of home buyers taking out a mortgage by the end of 2018 which is up from 40 percent in 2017.

With the housing shortage, some homeowners will consider remodeling their home to make their current home feel and look brand new.

Homeowners that lost their home during the recession will be rebounding back.  Normally, foreclosure wait period is seven years.  They are close to being able to purchase a home again.

U.S. economic growth is positive with the stock market going strong with a rise of 10% in 2017.  Mortgage rates averaged in October 2017 3.94% for a fixed rate loan compared to 3.51% October 2016. Mortgage rates will increase somewhat and predicted to reach 5% by the end of 2018 due to stronger economic growth, inflationary pressure, and monetary policy normalization.

Home prices will continue to grow but at a slower pace than in 2017.  In 2018, the home prices are expected to climb to 4.1 percent which is 1.1 percentage points higher than the “normal” annual appreciation but slower than the current annual pace of 6.9 percent.

Locally in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky market, are economy has been strong. Greater Cincinnati’s $132 billion economy has not only surpassed Columbus as Ohio’s largest, it is the fastest-growing major city in the Midwest.

The median home value in Cincinnati is $127,000.  Cincinnati home values have gone up 6.8% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.1% within the next year. The median home value in Kentucky is $136,500.  Kentucky home values have gone up 4.2% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.2% within the next year.

 I always enjoy looking back over the last year and determine what the next year holds.  Real Estate is exciting and it looks like we will have another good year!


Major Changes to Kentucky Retirement Systems Proposed

On October 18, 2017, Governor Bevin released a 505 page bill intended to address and reduce the presently unfunded liabilities within the Kentucky retirement systems. Should it become law, this bill would make substantial changes to the Kentucky Employee Retirement Systems (“KERS”) and County Employee Retirement Systems (“CERS”). The corresponding retirement health care, disability, and death benefits of the aforementioned plans would also be impacted. While the bill is still under review by experts and legislators to comprehend the entirety of the proposed changes, the 505 page document will substantially impact all Kentucky retirement plans.
One section of the bill has targeted the issue of “pension spiking.” Pension spiking, or salary spiking, occurs when employees use their uniform and equipment allowances, compensatory time, and sick leave to increase their salary just prior to retirement. This causes a “spike” or inflation of the employee’s compensation just prior to retirement, which in turn increases the employee’s retirement benefits. As this has become common practice in many Kentucky retirement systems, this new bill could seriously impact such practices.

Another section within the bill addresses the ability of an employer to voluntarily cease participation in KERS or CERS. In order to be eligible to do so, an employer must be able to meet certain requirements, such as paying for an actuarial study on the cost of discontinuing participation in such system. Following such actuarial study, the employer would pay a lump sum to the system representing the full actuarial cost of the benefits accrued by its current and former employees, as determined separately by the pension fund and the insurance fund.

The sections discussed above are just two (2) of hundreds of changes that the bill proposes. Accordingly, this bill and its proposed changes will continue to be major topic of conversation throughout the Commonwealth in the coming weeks. It is unknown yet when the Kentucky Legislature will convene to review and vote on the bill. However, in preparation of such, public entities currently enrolled in these affected plans should begin investigating how this new bill could impact them. For any questions or concerns regarding these changes, please contact our offices.