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Butler County homeowners are getting property tax cuts in 2022
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Butler County residents will see a property tax reduction when they file next year, after the Board of Commissioners unanimously voted on an $18.5 million decrease Monday. Including other reductions, homeowners will save just over $76.00 per $100,000 value of their home.

But the conversation was contentious, with Board President Cindy Carpenter saying not only were they given little notice about the proposal, but it also unfairly benefits some residents. She called it a benefit to the wealthy.

"So, what you're doing is you're giving the benefit to the people who own homes," she said. "For instance, a person who owns a million-dollar home in West Chester with five kids is going to get quite a benefit. But a person in New Miami who owns a $20,000 home with five kids isn't gonna see that benefit."

That's because if your home is worth $20,000, you'll only receive one-fifth of the $76 break.

Commissioner Don Dixon said property taxpayers deserve the break after the local government approved millions of dollars in rental aid and other assistance to those in need during the pandemic. He's been pushing for tax breaks for eight years.

"It's something that we strive for and promised that we would try and do, and right now is the time, I think, when county residents need it," he said. "The economy needs it. Seems like everybody else is being taken care of except on a real estate side or homeowner side."

Dixon added the savings are proportionate because people's home values are assessed the same and everyone gets the same percentage of savings.

There was also pushback on the timing of the proposal. In order for the tax break to go into effect, it had to be passed Monday, before the county sent its tax budget to the state.

County Administrator Judi Boyko said board members were informed county officials were working on a property tax reduction plan, but the issue was not on the agenda for the Monday meeting.

Carpenter said she didn't get the final details on the proposal until the evening before the vote, and still hadn't received data or final numbers about it as of the meeting. She said she felt uneasy about voting for the issue without those things in writing.

"I'm so uncomfortable doing things flying by the seat of my pants. I'm so uncomfortable with this," she said. "So given the facts that Commissioner Dixon just gave me, it does make sense. The numbers do jive. It's very uncomfortable having it at the last minute."

Though she voted for it, she said she'd still take time to review and understand the details.

Jolene Almendarez is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who came to San Antonio in the 1960s. She was raised in a military family and has always called the city home. She studied journalism at San Antonio College and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's been a reporter in San Antonio and Castroville, Texas, and in Syracuse and Ithaca, New York.