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2 property tax levy renewals likely to remain flat for Hamilton County come November

a white dog stands at a woman's feet, her body hidden by a voting booth divider
Carolyn Kaster
Becky Tossey, with her service dog in training Teelin sitting at her feet, fills out a ballot for early in-person voting at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in Cincinnati, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.

The Hamilton County Tax Levy Review Committee is recommending the Developmental Disability Services and Family Services and Treatment levies be renewed at their current rates. It's a move Hamilton County commissioners say they'll likely support.

The renewals won't increase taxes and will fund the two programs through 2029.

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The Tax Levy Review Committee presented the proposed levies to commissioners Tuesday. Committee members say levies will maintain current services as costs for these programs increase.

The Development Disability Services' financial projection shows a fund balance of nearly $127 million for 2024. This large balance is due to the rise in the availability of federally funded services in the years during and following the COVID-19 pandemic but as these services go away, those expenses will be put back on the county. By 2029, the Disability Services' fund balance is expected to diminish to just around $12 million. This is also due to rising costs and an increase in the number of people seeking services.

In response, the Tax Levy Review Committee will likely consider a levy renewal with a tax increase during the next five-year cycle in 2029.

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Committee member and Assistant County Administrator for Social Services and Criminal Justice Lisa Webb says while the programs can survive with a flat tax levy this year, these services will only get more expensive.

"The provider rates alone have gone up from $13 an hour," she told the commissioners. "They are $18 an hour currently and next week, July 1, they go up to $19 an hour."

The Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on the 2024 flat tax levy renewals Monday, July 1, at the Hamilton County Board of Elections and Tuesday, July 2, at the Todd B. Portune Center for County Government.

Commissioners will decide whether to approve the ballot resolutions during their regular meeting July 18.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.