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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Hamilton County Property Owners Get More Time To Pay Taxes

Bill Rinehart

Hamilton County property owners have a little extra time to pay their second half 2019 real estate tax bills. 

County Treasurer Rob Goering announced Monday those payments will now be due on July 17. Those were supposed to be due on June 22.

Goering called the decision to extend the payment deadline a balancing act.

"We have to balance the needs financially of the county and the needs of individual taxpayers, and we have to balance that against the reality that right now with this crisis, you can't actually get to the treasurer's office," Goering said.

Goering is balancing the decision against the fact that real estate taxes fund important things like schools, local governments and even the Cincinnati Zoo.

The payment extension means county residents will be happy, but some government and agencies will be concerned.

"The delay is going to mean that the inflows of the tax money will be delayed," Goering said. "And that's the hardest part of pushing back the collection."

County Administrator Jeff Aluotto and his team are tasked with balancing the county budget, and that's a tough task right now as all county revenues sources are declining.

But Aluotto said delaying property tax payments shouldn't create a significant problem.

"There are cashflow implications to the timing of receipt," Aluotto said. "I think for what we're talking about right now, I think that there should not be dramatic implications for moving it a couple of weeks. If we were talking several months, I think we would be in a different situation. But we're looking at that and we'll stay abreast of that, but I don't think for the amount of time we're talking about there's going to be a significant implication."

County property owners who miss the later payment deadline will face penalties and interest charges. The state legislature would need to act to waive those late fees. 

Meanwhile, County Commission President Denise Driehaus, and elected leaders across the country, are still lobbying Congressional lawmakers to use federal money to help balance budgets.

Hamilton County has received $142 million, but right now it can only be spent on the county's direct response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Driehaus said Monday she's more optimistic about that issue than she was last week.

"I'm hearing there's some movement on that," Driehaus said. "And so, I'm guardedly optimistic about this. But we have some really strong advocates, especially in Ohio and in Kentucky. To be fair, some of the county executives in Kentucky that I've spoken with are pushing really hard."

Two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had suggested some state's file bankruptcy because of the expected budget challenges.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said last week there will not be a future economic stimulus bill without state and local aid.

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.