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Smart Voter
Hamilton County, OH November 3, 2009 Election
Issue 6
Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal and Decrease)
County of Hamilton

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 164,235 / 67.25% Yes votes ...... 79,976 / 32.75% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Summary |

A renewal of part of an existing levy, being a reduction of 0.02 mill to constitute a tax for the benefit of Hamilton County, Ohio, for the purpose of SUPPLEMENTING THE GENERAL FUND TO PROVIDE FOR MAINTENANCE, OPERATION, AND REPAIR OF A PUBLIC BUILDING, THE CINCINNATI UNION TERMINAL, OCCUPIED BY THE CINCINNATI MUSEUM CENTER at a rate not exceeding eighteen-hundredths (0.18) mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to one and eight-tenths cents ($0.018) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five (5) years, commencing in 2009, first due in calendar year 2010.

Summary Prepared by League of Women Voters:
Explanation: This proposed tax levy of 0.18 mills on residential and commercial property in Hamilton County is a renewal of a 2004 levy with a decrease of 0.02 mills to provide for maintenance, operation and repair of Cincinnati Union Terminal, a public building, occupied by Cincinnati Museum Center. The levy renewal would provide approximately $3.2 million per year or $16.2 million over 5 years. This is a reduction for a homeowner in property tax support for the Museum Center. At the request of the Museum Center the levy was placed on the ballot by the Hamilton County Commissioners after a review by the Tax Levy Review Committee. What the levy will do: The proposed 0.18 mill levy would renew the 2004 Museum Center levy without an inflation factor and with a 0.02 mill reduction. The reduced millage equals a $2 million reduction from current funding. The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $4.43 a year. The same homeowner now pays $4.93 for the Museum Center levy. The proposed 5 year levy would provide support for operations costs associated with insurance, utilities and maintenance and capital repair of Union Terminal, a public building, occupied by the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Background: Currently the Cincinnati Museum Center receives funding from two Hamilton County property tax levies: a 2004 levy for operations, maintenance and repair of Union Terminal and a 1986 levy to fund bonds for renovation of Union Terminal. The current five year 0.2 mill operating levy provides funds for the operation and repair of Union Terminal. The levy is due to expire in 2009 and is proposed for renewal. Its objectives were to provide assistance for operations costs and maintenance and capital repair while the Museum Center increased its financial resources for the repair, preservation and maintenance of the historic structure. While the Museum Center has progressed in increasing its endowment, it has not raised enough funds to be financially independent from the funds provided by the current operation levy. The Museum Center also receives operating revenue from government, private, earned and investment sources.

Built as a train station in 1933, Union Terminal was renovated and reopened as a Museum Center in 1990. Building improvements were funded in part by a $45.7 million Hamilton County Bond levy approved by voters in 1986. The owner of a $100,000 home currently pays approximately $4.16 a year to fund the bonds. The bond levy expires in 2009 and will not be renewed.

A 2007 comprehensive Cincinnati Museum Center Master Plan Study indicated the need for significant repair and renovation for preservation of Union Terminal. Earlier this year the Museum Center requested a levy to fund building operations and maintenance, and capital expenditures for repairs and renovations as described in the Master Plan. The renewal of the 2004 levy does not act on the Museum Center's new capital expenditures request. The County Commissioners have resolved that the County Administration work with the Museum Center to develop a capital plan for the long term capital needs of the Museum Center.

Located at Union Terminal, the Cincinnati Museum Center is a non-profit cultural organization including the Cincinnati Natural History Museum, Cincinnati History Museum and Library, Children's Museum and the Omnimax Theatre. Education, scientific research and entertainment are offered. In addition the Museum Center maintains collections and provides exhibits and programming for the general public.

Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC) Recommendations: The TLRC reviewed the Museum Center request, engaged consultants for an operational review and a review of the Master Plan study, analyzed the Museum Center operations, and toured the facility. The TLRC found the Museum Center to be efficiently managed and the Master Plan to have merit. It recommended the operating levy be renewed at the current funding level, that the County work with Museum Center in helping develop a long term financing plan for the necessary capital improvements and that other sources such as private funds and federal, state and city sources be utilized before considering a new levy for capital renovation purposes.

  Official Information

County Auditor

  • What will this levy cost me? - Information from the Auditor is available for this proposed tax levy. Go to the website, then to "Property Search." Input your address and then click on "Levy Info" on the left side of the page.
Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters

News and Analysis

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Videos General Links

My Union Terminal
Website in support of Issue 6
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Created: December 29, 2009 12:11 PST
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