Cleves Operating Levy on August Ballot

CLEVES, OH (FOX19) - Residents of the Village of Cleves will go to the polls August 6, 2013 to vote on an operating levy for the Village of Cleves.

If approved, the $3.9 million operating levy will generate $201,760 annually in general fund revenue for 5 years. These funds will be used to pay for Cleves police, Miami Township fire/EMT, road safety, snow removal and other basic services for residents.

According to Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, the levy will cost a homeowner $117.60 per year for each $100,000 in home value.

After an operating levy failed in the November 2012 election, the Village made significant cuts in the general fund expenses including salary and stipend reductions, elimination of health insurance for spouses and dependents, reduced work hours and reduced departmental operating budgets in order to balance the 2013 budget.

"If this levy passes, the salary and stipend reductions, benefit changes and reduced hours will remain in place", states Mayor Danny Stacy.  "However the reality is, the reductions are not enough long-term.  There are costs to operate any municipality that are beyond our control, such as increases in utilities, fuel, insurance, basic supplies and safety services. Plus, the State of Ohio is constantly reducing the funding it provides to all local governments."

The Village of Cleves explored instituting an earned income tax as a possible revenue source after the November 2012 levy failure.  "The feedback we received from residents was that they were not in favor of an income tax and they wanted another sustainable solution," Mayor Stacy commented.   "So we created a 5 year forecast that maintained all salary and benefit cuts, but projected unavoidable increases in other operating costs.  This very conservative five year budget projects an average annual shortage of $205,000.  The operating levy in August will just cover this shortage and allow us to maintain the services residents currently have without the need for an earned income tax."

In the last 16 years, the Village has reduced property taxes by 60% with the elimination of several levies.  Currently, a home in the Village of Cleves pays the same property taxes as a home in neighboring Miami Township.  According to the Hamilton County Auditors website, the full year property tax (inclusive of county, school and local taxes) on a $100,000 home in Cleves is $1,900 and the identical home in Miami Township is $1,905.

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