More than a thousand people, most of them in favor of putting a sales tax increase on the ballot, turned out at the first of two public hearings on the issue. The money would be used to renovate the crumbling Union Terminal and pay for upgrades at Music Hall.
There was passion on both sides of the issue during the three hour meeting at the Sharonville Convention Center. Most agreed the icons should be preserved, but who would and how to pay for it was in question.
Philanthropist Otto Budig sees it as a duty to carry on the legacy. He supports the sales tax increase.
"Future generations that we will never meet will have the opportunity to realize their continued value and say, as they view the results of our work, well done." Otto Budig serves on the Cincinnati Public Radio Board of Directors.
Hamilton County Commissioners must decide by August 6th whether to put a nine-year quarter cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.
Small business owner Maggie Cook wants to know what the rush is. "Who has decided that there are no other options except this particular plan today?" Cook says.
A few of the sixty-plus speakers did offer other options, including one with user fees, and increased private donations and more money from the city Cincinnati.
Commissioner Todd Portune said it's not an easy issue. "For us it's not just as simple as just putting anything on the ballot. We have to wrestle with the impacts of what we do and the effect on other things in front of us that are critically important as well."
The current proposal would raise the sales tax to 7%. Another public hearing will be held Monday, June 28th at the county administration building at 11:00.