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CINCINNATI   POST

$4.2M tax windfall for schools, towns

By Stephen Huba, Post staff reporter

Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes says he will give $4.2 million in surplus property tax revenues that his office doesn't need to local governments and school districts.

''We don't believe in spending everything we get our miserable hands on,'' Rhodes said.

Schools will get the most money, more than $2.5 million for 24 districts, with Cincinnati public schools getting nearly $1 million of that. Sycamore schools will get more than $255,000 and Princeton more than $202,000.

Thirty-seven cities and villages will share nearly $368,000, with the City of Cincinnati getting more than $233,000 of that. Various county agencies will share nearly $1 million, including $148,000 for the county general fund. A dozen townships will share more than $191,000. Among the 88 taxing entities to receive money, Milford will get the least, about $119.

The money comes from the Real Estate Assessment Fund, generated annually from a small percentage of the county's total tax collections, Rhodes said. State law requires that the fund be used for auditors' real estate and reappraisal work. A surplus in the fund is making the giveaway possible, Rhodes said.

''What we don't spend we give back,'' he said. ''While I would prefer to return the money directly to property taxpayers, the law requires it go back to the original taxing entities.''

The return is pro-rated to each community and school district on the basis of their total annual property taxes.

Mike Geoghehan, assistant treasurer for CPS, said the money is appreciated.

''It's not a budget maker or anything, but we're glad to have it,'' he said.

''It's a nice little thing we'd like to have happen about once a month.''

Geoghehan said the amount has to be put into the context of CPS' annual budget, which is $376 million.

This is the second time Real Estate Assessment funds have been returned in Hamilton County. In 1994, after a county-wide reappraisal, more than $1 million was returned to local governments and school districts, Rhodes said.

Publication date: 07-26-00

Copyright 2000, The Cincinnati Post. All Rights Reserved.

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