Hamilton County homeowners will get the promised 30% stadium tax rebate in 2022
Hamilton County homeowners will soon get the highest property tax rebate in four years. County commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to use a full 30% of the stadium sales tax revenue for the rebates, just as promised when voters passed the half-cent sales tax in 1996.
Despite that promise, county commissioners began reducing the rebate in 2011 to keep the fund solvent. Over the last 10 years, the rebate has ranged from 7% to 30%, and reached a low of 6% last year when the pandemic significantly reduced sales tax revenue.
Commission Vice President Alicia Reece says the fund has enough money for a full 30% this year.
"The numbers are right this year and I'm glad we're gonna go with this 30%," Reece says. "I think it's very important to note that we keep a promise for everybody else [in the stadium deal contract], and we got to try to keep the promise for the taxpayers of Hamilton County."
County Administrator Jeff Aluotto recommended using 10% for rebates this year, which would be about $28 per $100,000 of home value.
Commissioner Denise Driehaus voted in favor of Reece's plan, but says she prefers a gradual increase to the rebate each year.
"I will support this approach to provide some relief to the taxpayers and the property owners, knowing that this is not sustainable over a long period of time," Driehaus says. "And we know that because the projections have been provided to all of us."
The fund is used to pay maintenance and the debt service on the bonds issued to pay for stadium construction. If the fund runs out of money, the county is still obligated to pay for those things, which would mean taking it out of the General Fund.
Aluotto says a yearly 30% rebate would zero out the fund within two years. Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas also voted in favor, but shares the concern about sustainability.
"Let us not forget two things," Summerow Dumas says. "One, that this rate may not be sustainable. And number two, we are still in the middle of a pandemic and we don't know what else could come our way."
Homeowners will see their 2022 property tax bills reduced an average $89 per $100,000 dollars of home value.