The Public to speak out on proposed icon tax

Jul 23, 2014

If the group "Save our Icons" has its way, Hamilton County residents will be able to cast a ballot in November on a proposed 9-year 0.25% sales tax to pay for renovation of Music Hall and Union Terminal. It would  raise the county sales tax to 7%.

The Cultural Facilities Task Force recommended the tax to fund the renovations estimated to be $331 million. Private money is also being raised. Hamilton County Commissioners have until August 6 to put the issue before voters.

WVXU's Tana Weingartner reported in this story that former P&G head and Task Force Chair Bob McDonald said the group also considered a four-year, half-percent increase."We've done a lot of focus groups," says McDonald. "We've done research over time and it suggests that the majority of citizens in Hamilton County would vote in favor of this proposal. So the real issue for us is 'can we get the county commissioners to put it on the ballot in November?'"

Elizabeth Pierce is staffing the task force. She says, "We're at this crucial moment, this once in a generation moment where we can fix the buildings, do it right and make them available for the next hundred plus years." Music Hall is 130 years old. Union Terminal was built 80 years ago.

Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann says since Cincinnati owns the two buildings, it should contribute more than the $10 million it has promised. COAST agrees.

COAST's Jeff Capell spoke at a commission meeting this month "If the plan on the table is implemented this could easily become Hamilton County's third and fourth stadiums."

Two public hearings:

  •  6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sharonville Convention Center
  • 11:00 a.m. Monday at the Hamilton County Administration Building