Butler County gets $18.5M property tax rollback

Butler County property owners got an early Christmas present Monday when the County Commission...
Butler County property owners got an early Christmas present Monday when the County Commission approved an $18.5 million property tax rollback.(Butler County, Ohio website)
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 10:45 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2021 at 10:49 AM EST
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BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Butler County property owners got an early Christmas present Monday when the County Commission unanimously approved an $18.5 million property tax rollback for one year.

It will save homeowners slightly more than $76 per $100,000 in home value, county officials say.

This is an estimated, partial reduction, and Butler County residents will still have a property tax bill in 2022, county leaders say.

Other taxing entities will continue to levy and collect their statutorily enacted tax levies.

Butler County has tightened its spending and improved its credit over the past several years and collects greater revenues now, all dramatically improving its financial position.

The county received an upgraded credit rating to Aaa in 2018 and achieved a debt-free General Fund in 2020, according to Commissioner T.C. Rogers.

All this allowed the county to have enough reserve to return money to taxpayers, he said: “This is a result of the hard work and cooperation of all our officeholders and employees.”

Commissioner Don Dixon proposed the tax rollback and pushed hard for it Monday, saying “now is the time when I think county residents need it,” according to a recording of the meeting.

On average, property tax bills in Butler County shot up 17% this year due in part to the state-mandated 2020 property reassessment, county leaders say. The state ordered an average 20% increase.

Commissioners had to act Monday to roll back property taxes if they were going to do it because the budget is due to the state Tuesday.

Butler County is the 7th largest county in the state yet operates with Ohio’s lowest sales tax rate at 6.5% and is one of only four of 88 counties at that rate,” Dixon noted.

“We hold the line on spending and maintain quality services to taxpayers, and we do it at a lower cost than most of our peers,” he said.

Commissioners in neighboring Hamilton and Warren counties recently have approved similar tax breaks.

Warren County property owners will get back $78.75 per $100,000 home value. In Hamilton County, it’s $89 per $100,000 of home value.

Butler County Board President Cindy Carpenter initially objected to the tax rollback, saying it came up last minute without specific documentation.

She called it a “benefit to the wealthy” that wouldn’t be evenly distributed to every citizen in the county.

“To me, it’s relieving a tax burden on the people who already have the money, not the people who need it the most,” she said during Monday’s meeting, according to the recording.

Dixon said he didn’t think the tax break was enough.

He told Carpenter she was “too focused” on the people who she said, “need to be lifted up.”

He asked her: “What about the people who are paying for the whole system that provides this assistance through food stamps, all the other programs, rental programs, public training, job training? The people who pay the real estate taxes pay that and they deserve to have some relief as well. In my opinion, it’s not enough, but it’s a start.”

Carpenter wound up voting for the property tax break but said she was “so uncomfortable” the specific financial figures were provided to her at the last minute.

Then she left the meeting before it ended.

Still, she promoted the tax break in a news release the county put out that night after FOX19 NOW inquired about it, according to a copy of it.

“I am pleased to be part of the first Board of Butler County Commissioners to grant a reduction in property taxes by rolling back the General Fund’s inside millage in 2022,” Carpenter said in the prepared statement.

“Though,” she added, “there remains extensive work needed to ensure our most vulnerable residents and children are served and the quality of their lives improved.”

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