City manager looks to raise property taxes in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Cincinnati residents could soon have to pay more in property taxes.

City Manager Milton Dohoney sent the Mayor and council members a memo on Friday detailing his tentative tax budget. It outlines his plans to close a projected $25.8 million dollar deficit.

Dohoney recommends raising the tax rate to the maximum allowed. The plan would bump up the current milliage from 4.6 to 6.1. That means the owner of a $100,000 home, would have to pay about an additional $46 a year. Those homeowners currently pay about $300 a year.

Hyde Park mom Regina Yearout can barely stomach the idea of possibly paying more money for property taxes.

She's lived in her quiet neighborhood for 12 years. She said she's had to learn how to balance her checkbook, and thinks the city needs to the do same.

"On top of what we're going through as homeowners to hold on to our homes?" Yearout said. "There's a lot of people around, you know, who are just trying to keep up, and then for them to go and raise it? I don't see how people are going to stay up with it."

Meg Olberding, the City Manager's spokesperson, did not want to go on camera, but told FOX19 that council ordinarily tries to keep the rate at whatever amount will bring in $28.9 million. That's the amount of revenue expected every year from property taxes.

On one side of the issue, Dohoney says the rate must go up this year because property values in Hamilton County continue to be re-evaluated. I'm also told that bumping up the rate to the maximum allowed could bring in more than $3 million extra for the city's general fund.

On the other side of the issue sits council member Wayne Lippert. He believes there is no possible explanation that would excuse the city raising taxes right now-- even a looming deficit. Lippert believes the city will just have to find another way to fill the gap.

"We can't raise taxes," said Lippert. "It's just going to drive more business and residents out of the city. The city doesn't have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. We need to look at efficiencies within our government. And not raise taxes."

Olberding told Fox19 that city council could look to raise the milliage to the rate of 5.51. That's less than the maximum, but would still allow the city to bring in that $28.9 million.

The tax rate has to be approved by Friday, July 1st. There will be a public hearing on the issue on Monday, June 13th at 1pm in council chambers.

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