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What's in the 2023 Hamilton County budget, plus how you can weigh in

Board of Commissioners Photo 11.15.22.jpg
Becca Costello
Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, from left: Vice President Alicia Reece, President Stephanie Summerow Dumas, and Denise Driehaus.

Hamilton County commissioners are looking for public input on the proposed budget for next year.

The General Fund is projected at $352.2 million, about 8.6% higher than last year. The all-funds budget is $1.2 billion and includes $280.1 million for Job and Family Services as well as several restricted funds, like for stadium maintenance.

County Administrator Jeff Aluotto says the county's major revenue sources are expected to remain stable for the next few years.

"Sales tax growth slowed during 2022; we are projecting little growth in 2023 as inflation cools," Aluotto says. "We're projecting stable property taxes. We're projecting public defender reimbursement at 90%. We want it to be at 100%, but just for context, several years ago, that was at 50%. So we thank our state partners for dramatically increasing the public defender reimbursement."

Public safety and judicial budgets make up about three-quarters of the General Fund. Aluotto says investing in the county workforce is a top priority.

"We want people growing up in this community thinking, 'I want to work for Hamilton County because they do great things; they provide great programs and they also treat their people well,' " Aluotto said.

The county's 1,165 employees are projected to receive a 3.5% cost of living increase and up to a 1% merit increase. The recommended budget includes about 35 new positions, including hiring seven in-house attorneys in the Public Defender's Office that were previously contracted out.

Commissioners are collecting public input at three public hearings in late November and early December. The board is expected to approve the budget Dec. 15.

Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas says she’s eager to hear what residents want to see.

"I find myself as we look at the budget this time, just really thinking outside the box of where we want to go," Dumas said.

Three public hearings are scheduled. You can participate in-person or virtually. Learn how to give virtual public comment on the county website here.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. (Todd B. Portune Center for County Government, 138 E. Court Street, Room 605)
  • Thursday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. (Todd B. Portune Center for County Government, 138 E. Court Street, Room 605)
  • Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. (Hamilton County Board of Elections, 4700 Smith Rd.)

See the administrator's full recommended budget online here. See a summary presentation of the budget below:

Expertise: Local politics, housing policy