Weights & Measures
The county auditor serves as the sealer of weights and measures for the entire county. According to the Ohio Revised Code, Section 319.55, "The auditor shall see that all state laws relating to weights and measures are strictly enforced throughout his county, and shall assist generally in the prosecution of all violations of such laws."
Some Ohio cities have also implemented Weights & Measures programs as part of their city services.
The county auditor is responsible for testing the accuracy of weighing and measuring devices used in the purchase and sale of commodities.
The Director of Agriculture is the State Sealer of Weights and Measures. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is the custodian of the Ohio primary standards of weights and measures, which are traceable to U.S. standards of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The international standards are kept in Paris, France.
As consumers, the products we buy are sold by weight, volume, length, count, or measure. The time-tested methods of verifying weight, volume, and pricing are being replaced by computerized devices. There are positives as well as cautions involved with the advances in technology. As U.P.C. pricing and computers are replacing price stickers, consumers receive faster service but they cannot visually verify each item's price. Therefore, Weights & Measures officials and merchants must work harder to provide customers with pricing and measuring confidence.
All weights and measures inspectors are required to receive training and certification from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Weights and Measures. Inspectors must pass a series of 20 tests and 2 exams, as well as attend 18 hours of continuing education class per year to maintain their certification.
Error rates vary within each of Ohio's 88 counties. Ohio jurisdictions are very responsive to calls. Upon receiving a complaint, a weights and measures official will usually inspect the site within 24 to 48 hours.
If an error is found, the facility's equipment may be temporarily shut down or the operators may be fined. Records are maintained for all reported complaints.
All commodities must be marked with a statement declaring net contents. Net weight does not include the weight of the bag, wrapper or container of any kind in which a commodity may be packaged. This is called the tare weight, which must be accounted for before the product is weighed. Inspectors from the State and County periodically check the accuracy of these pre-packaged items.
The Universal Product Code (U.P.C.) is used in most retail stores to scan the price of the item. The price of the item is entered into a computer. When the item is scanned, the price will immediately appear on the register. The county auditor is helping to ensure that the labeled shelf price or the advertised price matches the price appearing at the checkout.
Community Awareness Programs
To increase weights and measures awareness among consumers, county auditors participate in a variety of outreach or educational programs to help explain the role or the county sealer and the protection consumers and merchants receive. The purpose of these events is for citizens to realize they have rights as well as responsibilities in the market place.
Fuel is sold by volume in gallons or liters. A computer in the gasoline pump calculates what you owe based on the amount and unit price of the gasoline. Weights and measures officials post a seal to show the the equipment was tested and found to be accurate.
In Ohio, the legal method of sale for firewood is the cord or fraction of a cord. A "cord" is defined as 128 cubic feet. Firewood must be labeled in cubic feet or cubic inches.
Inspections are annually performed on scales ranging from precise jewelry scales to large capacity Vehicle Scales.
Additional meters known as Timing, Length, and LPG & Vehicle Tank are also tested annually.