CINCINNATI — Homeowners in Hamilton County will see their property taxes rolled back to the percentage promised years ago in 2022.
After voters approved a half-penny riverfront sales tax to help fund new stadiums in 1996, they were promised a 30% property tax rebate. While the county was able to meet the rebate in the years following the tax's passage, Hamilton County has only offered a 30% rebate twice in the last decade.
"In 1996, voters went to the ballot...[they were] promised a 30% rebate," Hamilton County Commission Vice President Alicia Reece said. "In there, there were a lot of promises. We're keeping the promise as it relates to the stadium, keeping the promise as it relates to the schools. The only people we didn't keep promises to are the taxpayers — the homeowners."
Reece said the rebate is adjusted each year. The administration originally considered a 10% rebate for 2022 — equal to about $28.24 per $100,000 home, but Reece said it makes sense to give 30% instead.
"Look at this year — based on revenues up $91 million, the reserve [fund] is up and based on the fact that people are still fighting COVID-19 and trying to survive economically, it only makes good sense for us to do 30% this year," Reece said.
The commission unanimously passed the rebate Thursday, giving back about $89 for every $100,000 in home value. Homeowners said the increase came in their time of need.
"Anything to help the neighborhood, especially with the economy right now," resident Cindy Bastin said. "A lot of people are struggling. There's a lot of houses, if you go to the auditor's site, you'll see a lot of people aren't paying property taxes because they're struggling to do that."
While the rebate was a promise made to voters, county officials said they do worry 30% will not be sustainable in future years due to the pandemic.
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