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Issues 1, 3 and 29: What passed; what didn't

Tana Weingartner
Issue 29 is a levy estimated to cost about $33.25 a year per $100,000 of home value. An existing levy runs through 2026 and costs homeowners about $30 per $100,000 of home value.

On the November 2021 ballot, voters in Hamilton County and Cincinnati decided the outcomes of two proposed tax levies and one charter amendment. Here are their results:

Issue 1 - Children's Services

Issue 1 passed Tuesday with 58% of the vote.

The children's services tax levy is an existing levy that funds federal and state-mandated services like investigating allegations of abuse and neglect.

The levy was first passed in the 1980s and remained at the same level for decades. Voters approved a supplemental increase in 2018. Issue 1 is a combination of the original levy and the 2018 supplement.

Although the ballot indicated the levy is a renewal and increase, the levy is actually the same level as it has been since 2018. Homeowners will pay slightly less in taxes while the county continues to bring in about $80 million a year for children's services.

Issue 3 - Amendment to Cincinnati's city charter

Issue 3 failed with 57% voting "no" on the proposed charter amendment.

State Representative Tom Brinkman (and candidate for City Council, finishing 17th out of 35) authored the charter amendment known as Issue 3 and circulated petitions to get it on the November ballot. Among other initiatives, he wanted voters to approve lowering council salaries to the median household income in the city.

The Hamilton County Republican Party supported the effort. Democrats and the Charter Committee came out against it, with Charter President Darrick Dansby saying, "it was put together without any input from the community, without any public discussion of the issues. It's a very dangerous thing to have that many amendments in one ballot issue."

Issue 29 - Great Parks of Hamilton County levy

Issue 29 passed with 53% of residents voting yes.

Voters were asked to consider an additional levy request from the county park system. Great Parks requested 10-year, .95 mill levy, in addition to an existing levy running through 2026 that costs about $30 per $100,000 of home value.

The park system says the additional funds are needed to continue operating at current levels as well as expanding services, making infrastructure improvements, and maintaining existing facilities and amenities. A large chunk of the additional revenue would be used for things like roads, parking areas, building maintenance and improvements, bridges, dams and utilities.

Tangibly, some of the biggest projects people would see affect the harbor areas at Winton Woods, Sharon Woods and Miami Whitewater Forest, which Great Parks says are the district's most visited amenities at its three busiest parks.

New trails and trail systems - identified as a top priority in the recently completed master planning process - also top the list. Miles of new trails are planned along with additional programming.

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.
Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU, having served in various digital roles for such legacy publications as InStyle and Parade, as well as start-ups like Levo League and iVillage. She helped these outlets earn several awards, including MIN's 2015 Digital Team of the Year. She graduated from Rutgers University with a journalism major and English minor and has continued her education with professional development classes through the Poynter Institute, Columbia University and PMJA. Before moving to Cincinnati from New York in 2016, she vowed her son would always call it "soda" and not "pop." She has so far been successful in this endeavor.
Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.