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Council Sets 2017 Property Tax Rate; But The Debate May Not Be Over

Cincinnati Council has finalized the city's property tax rate for 2017, but the measure could be subject to a mayoral veto.  

Council voted 6-3 for a 5.6 mill rate .  That will generate about $29.3 million or about $400,000 more than this year.  Voting yes:  Flynn, Mann, Seelbach, Simpson, Sittenfeld, and Young.  Voting no:  Murray, Smitherman and Winburn.  

Some Council members and Mayor John Cranley wanted to reduce the tax rate to keep the money collected the same as 2016, which is about $28.9 million.  But that plan was blocked during a procedural vote.  

“Let’s be careful on the front end, and if we want to give a rebate we can do that later,” said Council Member Yvette Simpson.  “I worry about us being short.”

Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld said the decision is consistent with past practices.

“What we just passed continues to be an adherence to this long standing policy,” Sittenfeld said.  “If people want to reduce property taxes or get rid of them all together, let’s have a policy conversation about that.  But the action that Council just took was an adherence and upholding of a long-standing policy.”

The city must submit a tax budget to Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes by January 15th.  

If the mayor were to veto the plan, Council will have to discuss the issue again next week.  

The measure passed with enough votes to override a veto.  But there likely would be lobbying for one or two council members to change their votes.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.