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Why You Could See A Lower Property Tax Rebate In 2019

Bill Rinehart
The property tax rebate was designed to be 30 percent of the revenue generated by the half-cent sales tax.

Hamilton County's property owners might not get the same tax rebate in 2019 they did this year. County Administrator Jeff Aluotto is recommending a $5 million property tax rebate, instead of the full amount.

The property tax rebate (PTR) was created as an offset to a half-cent sales tax enacted to pay for Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park. With a $5 million PTR, Aluotto says taxpayers would get back $18.05 for every $100,000 worth of property value.

Commissioners approved a $16.9 million PTR for 2018. That's about 75 percent of the full amount.

"In recommending the $5 million PTR allocation, we are still talking about net annual operating deficits in the Riverfront sales tax fund, which will have us drawing down our balance … to just above $10 million in 2028." Aluotto says a full PTR would mean a $60 million deficit by 2023.

He says the full PTR amount is "not sustainable in the long run."

Aluotto says reducing the PTR will allow the county to accommodate increasing capital needs. "Those stadiums are getting to be 15 to 20 years old," he says. "These stadiums, as they start getting on in age, are going to require additional capital repair and capital improvements.

"It also hedges against further sales tax downturns so that we don't get back into the predicament we were in back when we had the great recession and the fund nose-dived significantly," he adds. "It also allows us to reset the PTR value to a point where we can think about increasing it on an annual basis as we see growth."

Commissioners aren't expected to make a decision before November 19.

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.