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Child Services Tax Levy Renewal Headed To Hamilton County Ballot

child playing with legos
Esi Grünhagen

Hamilton County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to put the children's services tax levy renewal on the November ballot. The levy funds federal and state-mandated services like investigating allegations of abuse and neglect.

This year's renewal combines the original, first passed in the 1980s, and a supplemental levy passed in 2018. Commissioner Denise Driehaus says the increase is necessary to keep up with more children in need of services.

"It was to make sure that we could retain case workers and make sure that they had a reasonable number of cases so they weren't overwhelmed," Driehaus said. "Because we were losing people like crazy back then because they were just overwhelmed with the work."

If passed, homeowners will pay slightly less in taxes while the county continues to bring in about $80 million a year for children's services. It's a five-year, 4.51 mill levy. That's roughly 45 cents per $100 dollars of home value.

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.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story said the 4.51 mill levy amounts to 45 cents per $1,000 of home value. It is in fact 45 cents per $100 of home value. It has been updated.

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.