CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - In just two weeks, voters will decide the fate of historic Union Terminal when they vote for or against Issue 8. But what exactly will it cost taxpayers?
A quarter of a percent sales tax may be difficult to calculate but it works like this. For example, when you spend $10 in Hamilton County, you are also paying an additional 68 cents in sales tax. If Issue 8 passes, that means an increase of 2 more cents for five years to fund much needed repairs to a Cincinnati landmark. Now you'll be paying $10.70 for your purchase. It's money proponents say won't go to waste.
"Plaster is crumbling off of the wall as a result of moisture. Steel is rusting," said Elizabeth Pierce with the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Pierce says after 10 years of begging the county for money to fix the deteriorating Union Terminal, they finally have Issue 8 on the ballot giving voters the option to repair and preserve it.
"We really want to take this opportunity now to stop the deterioration, to fix it like we know we can do based on previous investigations and to do it at a point when it is efficient economically to do so," said Pierce.
"There are many things we like about it. On the flip side, it is a new tax," said Tom Brinkman, Spokesman for the group COAST, Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes.
Brinkman says COAST helped draft the proposal dropping Music Hall but keeping a sales tax for Union Terminal on the ballot. A group usually opposed to new taxes, Brinkman says COAST is staying neutral on Issue 8.
"The property tax for the museum center is going away December 31 so all tax payers will win regardless of whether it fails or it passes," said Brinkman.
The quarter of a percent sales tax will expire in 5 years regardless of whether the 208 million dollars in repairs is raised or not. With 47% of the county sales tax coming from non-residents, Pierce says it isn't a burden on Hamilton County but an investment in Cincinnati history.
"There is a lot of enthusiasm for the museums and keeping the museums inside this very historic building," said Brinkman.
If you want to see exactly what you'll paying for if Issue 8 passes, Union Terminal is giving repair tours every Saturday morning at 9, 10 and 11. More information here: myunionterminal.com.