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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio
Smart Voter
Hamilton County, OH November 7, 2006 Election
Issue 13
Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal)
Hamilton County

A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage

183,988 / 68.18% Yes votes ...... 85,879 / 31.82% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis |

A renewal of a tax for the benefit of the County of Hamilton, Ohio, for the purpose of SUPPLEMENTING THE GENERAL FUND TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN SERVICES AND THE CARE AND PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN at a rate not exceeding two and seventy-seven hundredths (2.77) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to twenty-seven and seven tenths cents ($0.277) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five (5) years, commencing in 2006, first due in calendar year 2007.



Impartial Analysis from LWVCA Ed Fund
Explanation: The proposed 5-year levy is a renewal of a property tax levy of 2.77 mills passed in November 2001. It would generate $41,808,393 million a year for 5 years. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $48.95 per year. This tax levy was placed on the ballot by the Hamilton County Commissioners.

What the levy would do: Federal and State mandated services to children are provided through the Hamilton County Children's Services (HCCS), a division of Hamilton County Job and Family Services (HCJFS). Levy funds provide the local matching funds required to annually receive the approximately $54 million in state and federal revenues. The levy supports the system of public and private agencies that work to protect disadvantaged children of Hamilton County. The system includes: HCJFS and HCCS, Hamilton County Juvenile Court and Hillcrest Training School, Guardians Ad Litem (children's representatives in court), Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office and private and public child-serving agencies (such as foster care, mental health services, emergency housing and training).

To comply with mandates Children's Services:

  • Operates 241-KIDS, a 24-hour telephone line for reporting suspected abuse and neglect.
  • Investigates allegations of abuse, neglect and dependency.
  • Provides services to stabilize families so children can remain safely in the home.
  • When necessary for safety, places children in temporary care with relatives, foster care or in institutional settings.
  • Seeks protective, temporary or permanent custody of children through Juvenile Court.
  • Prepares children for adoption. Provides post-adoption services.
  • Trains older teens in independent living skills.
  • Provides funds for the operation of the Hillcrest Training School for adolescents.

In 2005, there were 64,152 calls to 241-KIDS. 5,661 investigations of abuse and neglect were conducted. 58% of the investigations indicated cases of abuse or neglect. An average of 1,279 children were in placements outside the home at any given time in 2005. More children are being maintained in their home with better safety plans and supportive services. The children who are in placement are in higher levels of care, which costs more.

Background: Ohio law requires the county to provide services to children and families who are affected by abuse, neglect or dependency. Children's Services is a division of the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services. The Children's Services Levy was first established in 1986 by a 1.42 mill levy with subsequent approvals by voters in 1991 (1.62 mill), in 1996 (2.77mill) and in 2001 (2.77 mill).

Findings of the Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC): Hamilton County Job and Family Services (HCJFS) provide Children's Services in a professional and cost effective manner. Evidence supports the need for the various services funded by this tax levy.

The TLRC recommends that the County Commissioners place on the November 2006 ballot a tax levy to support Children's Services. In addition, the TLRC recommends that the County Commissioners direct Job and Family Services to consider certain operational reforms. One of the functions of HCJFS is the removal of children for situations of abuse or neglect. Accordingly the TLRC recommends the formation of a Citizen's Review Panel (CRP) to (i) provide taxpayer oversight of the policies and practices employed by the agency in the removal of children from homes; and (ii) receive and hear taxpayer complaints. All recommendations of the TLRC are considered by the BOCC but may not necessarily be implemented.

Those who support the levy say:
1. Hamilton County is mandated by law to provide services to children at risk. Levy funds are used to leverage federal and state grants.
2. Children's Services helps one in every 28 county children.

Those against the levy say:
1. There needs to be a more comprehensive program than what is currently available.
2. This levy does not cover funding for Children with Medical Handicaps, which now comes from the Health and Hospitalization Levy. The levy should cover all associated costs of the Department of Children's Services.

  Official Information

Auditor's Report on Levy Information

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