Hamilton Co. says city needs to pay more to 'save our icons' - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Hamilton Co. says city needs to pay more to 'save our icons'

Cincinnati's Music Hall. (File) Cincinnati's Music Hall. (File)
CINCINNATI (FOX19) -

Hamilton County Commissioners will decide Wednesday if a sales tax levy will go on the November ballot to 'Save our Icons.'

If passed, the quarter cent sales tax would fund renovations needed to preserve Union Terminal and Musical Hall.

'Save our Icons' is the name of the cultural task force campaign in support of the levy.

Cincinnati's Council Committee approved a proposal from Mayor Cranley Monday to help fund renovations only at Music Hall. Cranley's proposals would give ten million dollars; that's $400,000 for the next 25 years. Music Hall and Union Terminal need an estimated $300 million in renovations.

Some Hamilton County leaders say that the city's contribution is not enough.

"I think the city has to show that this is one of their top priorities. This would be a huge ballot initiative. I think we are determining access and whether or not this should go to the ballot," said Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann.

Hamilton County has been contributing property taxes over the last ten years to fund operating costs at Union Terminal. The tax has help pay for Project one.

"Last year we had a boiler stack at the back of the building. It rusted away. It cost $67,000 dollars. It was a short term fix," said CEO Doug McDonald of the Union Terminal Museum Center.

Now, funds are needed to fix the structural issues the building faces as water creeps into the building, slowly deteriorating it. Commissioner Greg Hartmann doesn't mind taxing his county to pay for those upkeeps.

"This county goes back to 1988 with the museum center, this is the first proposal we have received from Music Hall, they are new to the game at the county," he said.

The levy would come in the form of a sales tax. Hamilton County residents would only pay about 30 percent of the bill. Those who come and spend their money in the county would also be contributing this way.

Organizers say if the sales tax is put on the ballot, they will immediately start the push for voters to approve it.

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