Butler County gets $18.5 million property tax cut

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) – Butler County property owners received an early Christmas present Monday when the county commission unanimously approved an $18.5 million property tax cut during a year.

This will save homeowners just over $76 per $100,000 of home value, county officials say.

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

Other tax entities will continue to levy and collect their statutory tax levies.

Butler County has tightened spending and improved its credit over the past few years and is now collecting more revenue, which significantly improves its financial situation.

The county received an upgraded credit rating to Aaa in 2018 and achieved a debt-free general fund in 2020, according to commissioner TC Rogers.

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

Commissioner Don Dixon proposed the tax cut and lobbied for it on Monday, saying “the time has come when I think county residents need it,” according to a recording of the meeting.

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

Commissioners had to act on Monday to cut property taxes if they wanted to because the budget is due in the state on Tuesday.

Butler County is the 7th largest county in the state but has the lowest sales tax rate in Ohio at 6.5% and is one of only four of 88 counties with that rate noted Dixon.

“We’re toeing the line on spending and maintaining quality taxpayer services, and we’re doing it at a lower cost than most of our peers,” he said.

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

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

Butler County Board Chair Cindy Carpenter initially opposed the tax cut, saying it came at the last minute without specific documentation.

She called it a “benefit for the rich” that would not be distributed equally to all county citizens.

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

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

He told Carpenter she was “too focused” on people she felt “need to be uplifted.”

He asked her, “What about the people 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 property taxes pay that and they deserve relief too. In my opinion, this is not enough, but it is a start.

Carpenter ended up voting for the property tax relief, but said she was “so uncomfortable” that the specific financial numbers were provided to her at the last minute.

Then she left the meeting before it was over.

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

“I am pleased to be part of the first Butler County Board of Commissioners to grant a property tax abatement by reducing the interior mileage of the General Fund in 2022,” Carpenter said in the prepared statement.

“Although,” she added, “there remains considerable work to be done to ensure our most vulnerable residents and children are served and their quality of life is improved.”

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Penny D. Jackson