Cincinnati's property tax rates for 2017 will remain the same as the rates for 2016.
A council committee approved the issue Monday and a full Council vote will likely come Wednesday. The property tax rate for general operating expenses will remain at 5.6 mills, and the rate for debt service is 6.5 mills.
Vice Mayor David Mann proposed increasing the operating property tax rate to the maximum 6.1 in the City Charter.
“For decades we used 6.1,” Mann said. “At some point, for reasons I think were illogical, the decision was made to cap the millage based on fixed revenues, so that as property values go up and the potential revenues go up we remain at the same revenue level.”
Mann was the only one who voted in favor of his proposal. The other eight council members were against it.
The city is projecting a $14 million deficit for the fiscal year, which starts July 1st.
Council Member Chris Seelbach asked why a recent surplus was not set aside to ease the upcoming deficit. He said the city administration plan does not make fiscal sense.
“We had a surplus, we could have filled the deficit with a surplus without spending the money on public safety, on Main Street,” Seelbach said. “And then if we wanted to pay for a new recruit class or body cameras, we would actually have to find money to pay for it. And that may include increasing taxes. All of this doesn’t add up to me, it doesn’t sound like smart business sense.”
The city did put aside a large amount of money in rainy day accounts in addition to spending several million dollars for public safety.
The city manager will release his fiscal year 2017 budget recommendation in May.