Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Property tax isn't a windfall, county says

Reappraisal raises values in Butler

By Steve Kemme, skemme@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Although Butler County property values rose by 15 percent overall in the recent reappraisal, it won't mean a tax revenue windfall.

        Property tax revenue for the general fund will increase by $1.3 million next year, Tim Williams, county finance director, said Monday in a presentation before the county commissioners.

        That increase is about three times the average annual increase of $467,000 since 1998, he said.

        But the $1.3 million represents only 2.2 percent of the county general fund, Mr. Williams said.

        “Although we are thankful for the increase, it doesn't really have a whole lot of impact on our general fund,” Commissioner Courtney Combs said.

        This year's reappraisal caused residential property values to jump 16 percent; commercial and industrial property, 11 percent; and agricultural property, 15 percent, Mr. Williams said.

        The value of all property rose 15 percent.

        The commissioners had asked Mr. Williams to analyze the reappraisal's effect on the county general fund to rebut some residents' claims that the reappraisal would be a financial boon to the county.

        “A lot of citizens are under the impression that all this (property tax) money goes into the general fund and that the county will be in great financial shape,” Commissioner Chuck Furmon said.

        Only 3 percent of Butler County's property tax revenue goes to the county general fund, Mr. Williams said.

        Commissioner Mike Fox suggested that the county send letters to property owners laying out where their property taxes go.

        About 70 percent of the revenues goes to schools, according to the county auditor's office.


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