Saturday, August 28, 1999

Warren Co. taxpayers get a break

Growth and prosperity cited

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Warren County growth pays off for its residents.

        The county's portion of property taxes will go down for the third time in recent years thanks to the booming population and income.

        County commissioners voted 3-0 Thursday to eliminate the county's portion of the property tax bill that goes into the general fund.

        “It is not any tax dollars earmarked for townships, villages, cities or schools,” Commissioner Pat South said.

        The cut saves the owner of a $100,000 home $23 a year, Warren County Auditor Nick Nelson said.

        Commissioners have been whittling away at the county portion of the property tax for several years. The total savings to the owner of a $100,000 home is $78 a year, while all taxpayers will save a total of $7.5 million a year with the accumulated cuts, Mr. Nelson said.

        The county's growing property tax base, along with rising income from sales taxes and fees, made the slashes possible.

        The county's population shot up 28.2 percent to 146,033 people from 1990 to 1998, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

        The county's two half-percent sales taxes brought in $15.2 million in 1998, Mr. Nelson said. Collections are on track to reach at least $16 million for 1999.

        “The sales tax has certainly played an integral part in allowing Warren County to provide some of the expansion necessary due to growth, and that includes being able to pay cash for every single one of the buildings we've had to renovate, remodel or build new,” Mrs. South said.

        The county's financial cushion allowed it to pay cash for a $6.1 million juvenile justice complex, $2.3 million in renovations to the old county courthouse and about $5 million to remodel the county jail and sheriff's office.

        Paying cash for those projects saved the county more than $9 million that would have been needed to pay interest on loans. The county plans to pay cash for the $11.3 million administration building under construction.


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