Dusty Rhodes pays out $16.5 million - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Auditor gives $16.5 million back to agencies, townships and districts

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) -

Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes sent out checks to 10 county agencies, 31 school districts and 50 municipalities and townships on Monday. The money was left over from last year's property re-appraisal process. 

"It feels good to do it and to perhaps set and example for other various bigger governments that they don't have to spend everything they've got and if they're efficient with the money and make sure that it's not wasted maybe they'll be in a position to lower taxes, which is the optimum, or do the same kind of similar thing," Rhodes told FOX19.

"Next year we'll be short an addition two million dollars in state tax funds that we usually get so this money that we'll be receiving will definitely help," Green Township Trustee Rocky Boiman said.

Boiman says he expects to see their money go towards priority projects.

"It would be great if it could go back to each person individually and I know Dusty thinks the same way," Boiman acknowledged. "But I give Dusty Rhodes a lot of credit for finding that money, finding that excess and giving it back to us."

"The state has stolen a great deal of money, if you will, back from local governments and school districts," CPS School Board President Eve Bolton said. "So this for all local agencies will be a real, real present."

Bolton says she is hoping to pass on the money in the spirit it was given.

"[Rhodes] had hoped to give it back to the tax payer," she explained. "Our hope is to give it directly for services for our children."

She says a likely option is to invest the money into new technologies rather than put it in the operational budget.

"We are faced with tremendous challenges adopting the national Common Core and it will require a significant amount of money for technology, and textbooks and curriculum re-writes," she explained.

She says the board will first wait on a recommendation from the superintendent before considering where to invest the money.

"We still have to look at it but we're hopeful we won't have to make as deep of cuts as we have been making," said Jenny Dexter with Hamilton County Developmental Disability Services.

"Money is something that everybody wants and needs, but I think it's really important to let the community know that we have been struggling," emphasized Diana Mairose.

Mairose is an advocate for the organization and sees the growing number of clients coming through their doors that they are being asked to help.

"It's really a struggle when we don't have the money and the funds to do it," she said.

Dexter says their agency serves roughly 9,000 clients in Hamilton County. She says they have been dealing with millions in cuts over the last few years by reorganizing staff, freezing salaries, and losing positions through attrition.

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