Committee Recommends Renewing Hamilton Co. Children's Services Levy
A tax levy review committee is recommending renewal of the Hamilton County children's services levy this year.
The levy is based on a percentage of the value of a home. Voters have consistently passed children's services levies at the same rate, 2.77 mills, every five years since 1996. Three years ago, voters approved a supplementary increase to a total 4.75 mills — it costs the owner of a hypothetical $100,000 home about $109 a year.
TLRC member John Silverman says keeping the levy at the increased level would allow the department of Job and Family Services to increase programming.
"It would take the improvements made at JFS and really do great things for the community, [and] it would not increase taxpayer burden," Silverman said.
If Hamilton County Commissioners agree, voters will see the levy on the November ballot. Both levies are set to expire in December.
Ohio state government ranks last in the nation for contributing to child welfare budgets, and federal funding has gone down over the past five years.
The recommendation for renewal comes with suggestions for improvements to the JFS operation and service.
"We believe that JFS is in a position today to be able to take on some prevention measures like homelessness, like unstable housing, and really help in that endeavor for our county," Silverman said.
The primary five recommendations are:
- Expanding JFS efforts to increase and retain staff.
- Continuing to increase diversity of staff and leadership.
- Increasing services and support of older youth.
- Utilizing the JFS Planning Committee to develop a plan to provide funding and support to address families on the verge of crisis due to unstable housing.
Read a full report on the levy and children's services overall below.