Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Voters pass most tax levies

Butler, West Chester only ones defeated on area ballots

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Voters in Southwest Ohio counties were in a mood to pass local government tax levies Tuesday, except in Butler County, where a sales tax increase for public transit and a West Chester township tax increase were rejected.

        All of the other city and village ballot issues in Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Warren counties passed - most by wide margins.

        But in a countywide vote in Butler County, voters rejected a 0.25 percentage point sales tax increase, 17,239 (55 percent) to 13,928 (45 percent).

        The five-year sales tax increase would have generated $8 million a year to expand the county's public transit system.

        Amy Terango, general manager of the Butler County Regional Transit Authority, said she was “disappointed because we are going to have to cut service.”

        On June 1, the county will have to end the countywide Dial-A-Ride service, Ms. Terango said.

        Only 15 percent of Butler County's 213,000 registered voters cast ballots.

        Voters were uniformly approving of other ballot issues Tuesday:

Hamilton County

        • Indian Hill residents overwhelmingly approved a ballot issue giving the village the option of negotiating electricity rates on their behalf. The vote was 91-7. Residents can individually opt out.

        • Loveland voters passed an additional 2-mill fire levy, 520-352. The levy will generate $440,000 yearly revenue for fire operations and cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $60 a year.

        • Mount Healthy residents approved a 1.54-mill replacement levy for five years for city operations. The vote was 178-151.

        • A ballot issue for charter government in St. Bernard passed with wide support. The issue passed 409-60. Voters gave city council authority to create a charter for city government, though voters must give it final approval.

        • Sharonville voters approved a half-percentage point increase in the city earnings tax, 746-335. The increase will raise about $5.5 million and is earmarked for the fire department.

        • A 2-mill Elmwood Place fire levy was renewed for five years with ease 111-17. The levy generates about $58,000 a year. It will not result in a tax increase.

        • Woodlawn voters narrowly approved a measure to sell 15 acres of village land to the state for joint use by the Ohio National Guard and Woodlawn to build a training/community center. The vote was 218-205.

Butler County
        • West Chester Township voters approved a 4.5-mill replacement levy, 3,315 to 1,770.

        • A second West Chester Township issue, a new 2.5-mill levy, failed by a small margin. The vote was 2,551 to 2,447.

Warren County

        • Clearcreek Township approved a 3.85-mill fire levy by a vote of 2,879 to 2,753. It will generate $2.2 million a year, and cost the owner of a $100,000 house $118 a year.

        • Deerfield Township voters replaced a 3.95-mill fire levy with a 4.8-mill levy. It was passed 1,793 to 686. The new levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $26 per year in new taxes.

Clermont County
        • Milford residents overwhelming approved a 5.4-mill, five-year emergency medical services levy, 941-304. The new levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $36 a year.

        Dave Eck and Sue Kiesewetter contributed to this report.


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