Hamilton County Commission

Hamilton County's commissioners are tinkering with next year's budget.  But don't expect big changes to what's being spent this year.

"2015 is going to be another lean year in Hamilton County," says Commissioner Greg Hartmann.

The county administrator recommended creating a sales tax to balance the 2015 budget and build a new crime lab to replace the county's small outdated one.

Commissioners are now offering their alternatives.

The first of several public hearings on the proposed 2015 Hamilton County general fund budget is Thursday evening.

Commissioners will hold a meeting at the Green Township Trustee building at 6:30 p.m.

The county administrator is recommending a $210.7 million spending plan that calls for a quarter cent sales tax increase.

If Hamilton County voters approve a sales tax increase to repair Union Terminal, the work will be done under a public/private partnership.

Commissioners are directing the county administrator to begin drafting an agreement to set up the public-private partnership or P3.

Under this option, a private group like 3CDC would handle all the repair planning.

Hamilton County Commissioners are considering the administration's proposed budget for next year.

Most notably, County administrator Christian Sigman's $210.7 million proposal calls for a quarter cent sales tax increase.

As Hamilton County works on the 2015 budget, Commissioner Greg Hartmann is floating an idea he thinks could save money. He'd like to combine the city and county prosecutor offices.

"The city prosecutor's office makes absolutely no sense to me," says Hartmann. "It's an obvious overlap. When I was a county prosecutor I walked into that courtroom on my first day in municipal court and there was another city prosecutor in the same courtroom prosecuting the same crimes that just happened to have been committed in the city limits."

Later this fall, you'll no longer have to drive Downtown or to Forest Park to get a vehicle title. Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Tracy Winkler is opening another titling office in the Fields-Ertel area.

Winkler says the office will offer all kinds of vehicle titling and eventually passport processing.

Four years ago, Jim Tarbell, the former Cincinnati city council member and vice mayor, took on Republican Chris Monzel for a seat on the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.

His name was on the ballot as the endorsed Democratic Party candidate.

And he lost, taking 44 percent of the vote to Monzel’s 56 percent.

Well, Tarbell’s back.

And, this time, his name won’t be on the ballot.

Tarbell filed paperwork with the Hamilton County Board of Elections last Monday to run as a write-in candidate.

Former Cincinnati city council member and vice mayor Jim Tarbell is running as a write-in candidate for county commissioner against Republican incumbent Chris Monzel.

Tarbell filed the required form and paid an $80 fee today to become a write-in candidate, according to Sally Krisel, deputy director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Last week Hamilton County Commissioners decided not to put on the November ballot a requested quarter cent sales tax to repair Music Hall and Union Terminal. The move prompted a procedural question for some listeners, so I went looking for an answer.

Any time I report on a possible county sales or property tax, two questions tend to come up.

Sean Patrick Feeney said this afternoon he has rejected attempts by Democratic Party leaders to get him to step aside in the Hamilton County commission race for former mayor Charlie Luken.

"I'm committed to this; and I am going to continue on,'' said Feeney, a technology consultant who lives in North College Hill.

Earlier in the day, Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke said he wanted Feeney, a first-time candidate, to step aside so the Democrats could run former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken against Republican incumbent Chris Monzel.

The committee that reviews Hamilton County tax levies is recommending flat renewals for the Indigent Care and Family Services and Treatment levies.

The Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC) recommends keeping the Indigent Care levy on a three-year renewal cycle rather than a five-year term.

The Banks

Cincinnati and Hamilton County have cleared the way to bring General Electric's Global Operations Center to The Banks. 

City Council and the County Commission Monday morning approved several packages of incentives cementing the deal.  GE is expected to bring nearly 1,800 jobs with an average total payroll of $142 million per year.

The five-year lease includes five, 5-year renewal options.

Monday night is the first of two public hearings on Hamilton County's indigent care levy.

The levy is slated for the November ballot. It provides funding to the UC Medical Center, Children's Hospital and several other agencies to cover healthcare for the poor.

Sarah Ramsey

Two public hearings have been set to discuss the possibility of a sales tax to fix up Union Terminal and Music Hall. But Hamilton County Commissioners say that doesn't mean a sales or property tax is a certainty.

A task force is reviewing funding options for repairing the aging landmarks. That group will present its recommendations June 23.

However, Commissioner Greg Hartmann says Wednesday was the last commission meeting before a state deadline to set public hearings ahead of the November election.  

The City of Cincinnati is objecting to allegations levied by Hamilton County regarding the management of the Metropolitan Sewer District.

In a letter from interim city manager Scott Stiles to county administrator Christian Sigman, the city says it is "extremely disappointed" by the county's "adversarial approach."

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