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Smart Voter
Hamilton County, OH November 6, 2012 Election
Issue 50
Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal)
Hamilton County

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 114,406 / 77.11% Yes votes ...... 33,968 / 22.89% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Impartial Analysis |

A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage.

A renewal of a tax for the benefit of Hamilton County, Ohio, for the purpose of SUPPLEMENTING THE GENERAL FUND OF THE COUNTY TO PROVIDE OR MAINTAIN SENIOR CITIZENS SERVICES OR FACILITIES, INCLUDING A SYSTEM OF HOME CARE THROUGH THE COUNCIL ON AGING OR OTHER SERVICE PROVIDER(S) FOR ELDERLY RESIDENTS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: HOUSEKEEPING, PERSONAL CARE, RESPITE SERVICES (FOR CAREGIVERS), HOME REPAIR/MAINTENANCE, MEDICAL TRANSPORTATION, ADULT DAY CARE, HOME DELIVERED MEALS, CHORE SERVICES, LEGAL COUNSELING, ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES AND DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT at a rate not exceeding one and twenty-nine hundredths (1.29) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to twelve and nine-tenths cents ($0.129) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five (5) years, commencing in 2012, first due in calendar year 2013.



Summary Prepared by League of Women Voters:
This proposed property tax levy is a renewal of an existing levy to provide or maintain senior citizens services or facilities, including a system of home care through the Council on Aging or other service provider(s) for elderly Hamilton County residents at a rate not exceeding one and twenty-nine hundredths (1.29) mills for each one dollar valuation which amounts to $0.129 for each one hundred dollars valuation.

The levy is for five years commencing in 2012, first due in 2013. The levy will produce an estimated annual revenue of $19,230,743.00 which will cost the owner of a $100,000.00* market value house $29.32, the same as currently paid. The Hamilton County Commissioners placed the levy on the ballot.

  • Estimated cost based on a $100,000 (market value) residential property receiving the 10% rollback, 2.5% homestead reduction, and the current sales tax credit. Dusty Rhodes, Auditor August 7, 2012.

Fiscal Impact from Tax Levy Review Committee:
The TLRC concurs with the County Commissioners on their requirement to balance the public need for services and citizens ability to bear the tax burden to fund these services. TLRC is concerned with possible duplication of services with multiple agencies serving needy seniors. Also current demographics suggest the levy's financial stability depends on reevaluation of eligibility guidelines. TLRC recommends a cautious approach to advertising the program, and that the County Commissioners establish an updated definition of "Elderly Persons" using the federal Social Security direction of full benefits at age 67.

The County Commissioners retained a consultant to analyze use of the senior service levy fund during the current tax levy period of 2007-2012. The TLRC concurs with the consultant's observations: COA is a well-run organization that has sought to maximize the value of the levy. Of particular note during the last mid-levy period is COA's recognizing the impact of the local economy on tax revenues. Ending the current levy with a fund balance is due to the COA's adjusting the Program model and organization structure. TLRC prefers tightening eligibility standards to help alleviate financial pressure on the levy. TLRC recommends Veterans Services funding at a level of $205,000 annually with the remainder of the balance paid for from the County General Fund to minimize the burden on the Senior Services levy.

TLRC recommends the County Commissioners place a Senior Services Levy on the 2012 ballot not to exceed the current 1.29 mills.

TLRC reports are available at

Impartial Analysis from League of Women Voters
If approved, this levy will provide funds for the Council on Aging, Adult Protective Services and Veterans Services Board. The Hamilton County Veterans Services Board administers assistance to eligible veterans and dependents. Ohio law requires the county commissioners fund a lawful budget request from the Veterans Board within a limit established by law. The Veterans Board receives minimal funding from the levy.

This levy will produce funds for the Council on Aging (COA) which provides the vast amount of senior services supported through this levy. COA provides Hamilton County's Elderly Services Program (ESP) which makes direct use of the Senior Services levy in providing services for individuals not eligible to receive federal or state funded services. It helps seniors remain independent in their homes. The ESP is the core of the Senior Services levy which funds 93% of the program. Primary services provided include:

  • Home care assistance which includes: caregiver respite, companion, homemaking and personal care;

  • Emergency response systems;

  • Home modifications;

  • Home delivered meals;

  • Case management;

  • Transportation.

In 2011, COA provided 7,259 County residents with services through this program at an average monthly cost of $349 per person. Of the total clients served, 73% are women, 64% live alone and 75% are below 200% of poverty level. The mean annual income of the service recipients was $18,788. The target case load for care managers is 125 cases; in 2011 data showed an average of 133 cases.

Hamilton County Jobs & Family Services (JFS) has received Senior Services levy funding related to the operation of the Adult Protective Services Program (APS). JFS provides state mandated adult protective services to those sixty years or older who are victims of abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation. APS investigates cases for persons over age 60 and refers to the COA for service provision. The case demand has remained relatively flat. Prior to 2008, APS received funding through a Memorandum of Understanding with the COA. After that, APS received levy funding directly.

The COA is one of twelve Area Agencies on Aging in Ohio responsible for administering all federal and state aging funds within the southwestern region.

Since 1993, the ESP has been funded with a property tax levy that has been renewed with millage increases every five years in response to growing numbers of the county's elderly population. In 2008, data indicated the demand for services would exceed available revenue in the remaining levy period. Appraised property values decreased nearly 10% in the 2010-2011 period alone. Reduced property values reduced the amount of revenue from the levy.

COA made mid-levy changes to program model and organizational structure including the new eligibility requirement of "greater frailty". This has led to fewer eligible older adults being served and shorter stays on the program. Existing clients were "grandfathered". The changes resulted in a projected fund balance at the 2012 end of the levy. ESP is not a mandated program.

COA requested a renewal levy. To the extent the proposed levy produces less revenue than projected need, changes will be required to service provision in order to eliminate any projected deficit, according to the consultant report. COA is committed to "living within our means".

  Official Information

Hamilton County Auditor

  • What will this levy cost me? - Information from the Auditor is available for all proposed tax levies in Hamilton County. Go to the website to find your property information. Then click on "Levy Info" on the left side of the page.
Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters


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General Links

Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio
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Created: December 17, 2012 13:48 PST
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