Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Taxpayers to get $13M back?


Children's levy overestimated

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County commissioners said Monday the Children's Services levy will generate $13 million more than is needed and decided to return the money to county taxpayers.

        “The job can be done with less,” said Hamilton County commissioner Bob Bedinghaus.

        The 1996 levy passed by Hamilton County voters nearly doubled the collection of local tax dollars for chil dren's services to $39 million a year.

        At the time, Human Services officials thought there would be a sharp increase in the number of children served by the agency, but that did not materialize. In fact, the numbers have been dropping.

        In 1996, Human Services officials estimated that the agency would serve 24,000 children. The actual number for last year was 17,750.

        Mr. Bedinghaus said officials had also expected a sharp increase in the number of children needing help for cocaine abuse, but that increase, too, did not materialize.

        “The bottom line is we are able to do the job with less money.

        “So that's what we're going to do,” Mr. Bedinghaus said.

        The $13 million cut that Hamilton County taxpayers will see on next year's tax bills must be approved by the county budget commission.

        If approved, it will be the second year in a row that the county has returned children's service levy money.

        This year, $10 million was returned.

       



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