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Cincinnati City Council approves tax increase

Posted at 4:55 PM, Jan 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 17:58:28-05

CINCINNATI -- If you own property in the City of Cincinnati, your taxes are going up 12 percent. 

The City Council voted 7-2 Wednesday to raise property taxes to help pay for new police and fire facilities and the Western Hills Viaduct. That means the owner of a $100,000 home will have to find another $31 each year. 

"We don't like doing it, but I think there are some notable priorities that we have to resolve, so I supported it today," Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman said.

Councilmembers Jeff Pastor and Amy Murray both voted against it.

"Raising taxes, that's going to negatively impact the working poor, the middle class among us," Pastor said. "It's not something I'm willing to do."

The money will be going toward several big projects officials have planned. Replacing the Western Hills Viaduct could cost $32 million. Officials plan to spend $10 million to consolidate fire training facilities, which are currently split between the West End and Millville. 

Fire Chief Roy Winston said the split facilities have been a logistical issue.

"I think our staff does a very good job of adapting to that, but this will make it a much easier job for all of us," he said. 

Another $10 million has been budgeted for replacing the Police District 5 headquarters, which has troubled employees with health concerns. In the meantime, the entire staff will relocate to a building on Hamilton Avenue in College Hill by March 30. Eventually, there are plans for the new headquarters to be housed in the former building permits center on Central Parkway, pending public comment. 

The extra taxes got a mixed review in College Hill Wednesday. 

"I'm all about the improvements, but the more taxes is very controversial," Jaryn Stanley said. "I don't think people will be very happy about that. If we're going to be making improvements, we should find the money elsewhere."

James Irby of South Cumminsville said the increase is "a sore thumb" for him. 

"I got a tax bill that's due the 31st and if it's only $31 for every $100,000 piece of property, it probably won't affect me too much."

Harriet Russell of College Hill said she believes the council is making a mistake.

"I believe that the people who try to own homes in the city have enough of a burden right now without any increase in property taxes," she said.