Thursday, July 27, 2000

County to give back $4.2M


Schools among recipients

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County is giving back $4.2 million that wasn't used to pay for last year's property reappraisal. But taxpayers shouldn't pine away at the mailbox in hopes of a check.

        Instead, the money will be distributed to cities, townships and school districts that collected taxes.

BIG WINNERS
• Cincinnati Public Schools: $938,0867.
• Sycamore School District: $255,183.
• Princeton City Schools: $202,982.
• City of Cincinnati: $233,195.
• Hamilton County general fund: $148,075.
• Hamilton County parks: $52,356.
• Colerain Township: $36,281.
• Anderson Township: $29,247.
• City of Norwood: $13,555.
        “While I would prefer to return that money directly to property taxpayers, the law requires it go back to the original taxing entities,” Auditor Dusty Rhodes said Wednesday. “Hopefully this will reduce the need for agencies to go back to their residents” and raise taxes.

        The money comes from a small portion of property tax collections set aside to pay for the countywide appraisal every six years. In 1994, about $1 million was unused and returned.

        For the 2000 appraisal more than $10 million was collected, but it cost only about $6 million to assess the county's 342,000 homes, farms and business.

        “I don't think we ought to spend every dollar that comes in,” Mr. Rhodes said, crediting a small, efficient audit staff.

        More than 80 public agencies and programs will share the $4.2 million.

        Nearly a quarter of the money, $938,000, will go to Cincinnati Public Schools.

        “That's great news,” said Mike Geoghegan, assistant treasurer. “It will be used for general fund operations.”

        While the money represents a fraction of 1 percent of the district's $376 million general fund budget, Mr. Geoghegan said the unrestricted, unbudgeted cash is “like a little windfall.”

       



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