Sunday, August 01, 1999

Activist wants council members to pledge property tax cut




BY ANNE MICHAUD
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        An anti-tax group has issued a challenge to Cincinnati City Council members and candidates, asking them to pledge to a property tax cut.

        The issue is significant for city property owners facing tax increases in January as a result of this year's re-evaluation.

        The idea failed 5-4 in a council vote in June, but tax foe Tom Brinkman Jr. is hoping the pressure of November's council campaign will change some votes. He is a spokesman for COAST (Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes), which issued the challenge Friday.

        One councilman who voted with the majority, Jim Tarbell, said he may take the pledge. “I'd like to see it,” he said. “This is a good time for this discussion to come up.”

        The city is anticipating an $18 million surplus this year. Mr. Tarbell said some additional things need funding — parks, street repairs and neighborhood business districts — but that doesn't necessarily mean higher spending. The issue will likely come up in October when the city votes on its tax budget.

        In 1999, the city's portion of property taxes is expected to raise $28 million. If property values increase by 7 percent, it would bring in $30.2 million in 2000.

        A proposal by Councilman Phil Heimlich would eliminate the effect of the 7 percent increase. A competing proposal by Mayor Roxanne Qualls would limit the tax reduction to owner-occupied homes.

        Council members Charles Winburn, Jeanette Cissell and Todd Portune voted with Mr. Heimlich last month.

        Mr. Portune said Friday that council could pass both proposals. “I don't think it's a fair comparison to pit one against the other,” he said.

        Council candidates Charlie Luken and Pat DeWine said they will sign COAST's pledge; Forrest Buckley said he would not. The Heimlich proposal would reduce taxes on a $90,000 home by just $14, Mr. Buckley said, while the mayor's proposal has the potential to save the same owner about $124 a year.

        Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes said the Qualls proposal may not be permitted by law, and it would be a “nightmare” to administer.

       



Heat kills 2 more
The victims: 12 who died from heat
Volunteers help out in hot times
In summer of '34, cool was hard to find
Party to greet Peace Bell today
Bell's bid for peace harder than it may sound
Riverfront project needs precise timing
How they're remaking the riverfront
Record producers and their labels of love
Brazilian music tough sell in U.S.
Jazz enthusiast turns passion into product
Music store and label small, personal
Cash crowds out council candidates
- Activist wants council members to pledge property tax cut
Gun restrictions working, flea market owner says
Loser status proves short for Boehner
School levies now up to voters
'Sen. Springer' rings a bell with college class
Back to school: chalk dust, gunpowder
Breakthroughs offer hope for diabetics
Lack of diversity a sin of omission
African-Americans talk about TV flap
Cincinnati's Century of Change
Muni makes his mark
Production group forms in Indiana
Bush scores W in Ky. cash
Ex-zoo gorilla wins Koko's love
Can judge reject inmate suit?
Corn festival harkens to simpler times
Fairfield's new police chief on the case
GET TO IT
Heat withers county fairs
Klosterman's collection of magic is second to none
Oktoberfest volunteers can sign up online
Three treated at paper mill fire
TRISTATE DIGEST