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Cincinnati Council may end the decades-long property tax rollback, increasing taxes in 2024

person hands over money
Sasun Bughdaryan
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Unsplash

Property taxes for Cincinnati homeowners will likely go up in 2024 as City Council considers the first break from the “rollback” policy in over 20 years.

Each year since 1999, the millage rate has been set at whatever would bring in about $29 million.

City administration recommends using the maximum tax rate every year. If the rate is increased to 6.1 mills, which city voters approved years ago, the revenue for fiscal year 2024 would be about $36 million.

A motion from the mayor's office outlines policy priorities for spending the additional revenue, about $7 million. At least seven council members have signed the motion, well above the five needed to pass a rate increase. Supporting the motion does not necessarily mean support for the rate change, however.

Council Members Greg Landsman and Liz Keating had not signed the motion as of Friday afternoon.

Council Member Jeff Cramerding says the change is long overdue.

"The city budget is, and remains, structurally unbalanced. We are working diligently to correct the problem, but in the interim, rolling back property taxes sends the wrong message," he said. "I was on the losing side of that vote 7-2 last time ... I’m very hopeful that this council will be more realistic."

The change would cost an extra $39 a year per $100,000 of home value.

Keating says she supports ending the rollback eventually, maybe even as soon as next year; but she's not sure yet if she'll vote in favor of raising property taxes this time.

"We are not in a budget crisis this year because of the stimulus dollars," Keating said. "I don't think we need to make people pay more right now when the economy's is bad, when water rates just went up, sewer rates might go up, the county is not going to do as big of a rollback — everything adds up."

Keating says if a majority of council approves raising the millage rate, she would generally support spending the revenue on the priorities in the mayor's motion, but prefers to wait until next year's budget process to make actual decisions.

"I'd rather see all Council's [budget] priority motions together," she said.

A public hearing Monday afternoon could be the only chance to give feedback on the proposal. Council members will hear public comment during the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting at 1 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall.

If the committee passes the tentative tax budget Monday, a final vote could be held as soon as Wednesday. The change would go into effect for calendar year 2024.

See the policy priorities for additional revenue below. Actual appropriations would need to be made by ordinance as part of the budget process next year.

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.