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How Much Will The Stadium Property Tax Rebate Be In 2019?


Since it was created to offset a sales tax increase, Hamilton County's property tax rebate has gone up and down. That is to say property owners have received the full amount in some years and less in others. Commission President Todd Portune would like to bring some stability to the rebate, or at least give taxpayers what he says they have coming to them.

In 1996,voters approved a half-cent sales tax to pay for Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium. To offset that tax, the Board of Commission created the property tax rebate (PTR).

The PTR was supposed to be 30 percent of the sales tax proceeds given back to property owners. Historically, according to County Administrator Jeff Aluotto, that 30 percent has ranged from $23 to $25 million. Since 2011, however, property owners haven't always received the full amount because of stadium fund obligations, Aluotto says.

This year, Aluotto recommends a refund of $5 million, meaning the owner of property valued at $100,000 would receive about $18 back. The board is considering that suggestion. 

In the meantime, Commission President Todd Portune says while the PTR hasn't been an "enforceable obligation," it was a promise to taxpayers and he wants to make good on the promise.

First, Portune wants to know how much, cumulatively, has not been returned to property owners through the PTR, and then pay it back.

"The devil's in the details," Portune says, "but the idea is to create a tax abatement program that is recognized on the books if we are unable to do the full 30 percent.

"We not only are approving a PTR for today, but we would also be telling all the residential property owners who are eligible for this rollback, that to the extent there were any deficiencies in what you should have received in the past, you will get paid," he says.

Fellow Commissioner Chris Monzel applauds the effort. He says the board needs to do the "least amount of harm" to property owners "especially given what increases we have seen in property tax bills over the last year with voted increases from the senior services levy, the library levy, and just recently, the children's services levy."

Overall, Monzel is pushing for the 2019 PTR to be at least as much as in 2018, which was $17 million. That worked out to about $37 for every $100,000 worth of property.

Portune plans to introduce a formal plan at Wednesday's regular commission meeting.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio in markets including Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.