Greene County residents to save $1.9 million on taxes

Greene County commissioners planned to vote today to reduce taxes the county collects. CHUCK HAMLIN / STAFF

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Greene County commissioners planned to vote today to reduce taxes the county collects. CHUCK HAMLIN / STAFF

Greene County commissioners voted Thursday to reduce the amount of property tax they collect, saving residents a combined $1.9 million next year.

The change will drop the amount collected from 2.5 mills to 2 mills.

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County administrator Brandon Huddleson said no one can remember the last time a local government gave tax money back, but that the commissioners asked for this measure after years of collecting more than was needed for county services.

“We didn’t need all those tax dollars, and we need to find a way to put them back in the community,” said Commissioner Tom Koogler. “This is your money. We don’t need it, so you put it to use.”

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The measure was unanimously approved, and the change will go into effect for the 2017 tax year that will be collected in 2018.

The commission also reserved the “inside” half mill so that no other entity can collect it. Under Ohio law, if the county doesn’t use its full guaranteed minimum tax levy, other taxing units like townships could request that “free millage.” But the commissioners wanted to make sure residents actually get this discount, Huddleson said.

The savings per individual household will not be huge, he said — $15.30 per $100,000 of valuation.

But for businesses the savings could be significant.

"Collectively it is a big deal," Huddleson said. "Our hope is that businesses will invest in their employees and their business with the savings."

The savings was able to be passed on because of a number of factors.

Sales tax revenue, the largest component of the county’s budget, has continued to grow at a steady rate. Coupled with residential and commercial construction, the county was taking in more than it needed.

“It’s a good indication of the stability and the vibrancy that is going on in Greene County right now,” Koogler said.

Huddleson also credited the county commission keeping expenses at a minimum with helping to create the opportunity.

“It’s not too often that you hear government elected officials willing to reduce taxes and give money back, so we think it’s a positive thing for the residents of Greene County,” Koogler said.

The law allowing counties to rollback property taxes has been around since the mid-90s, according to Brad Cole with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio. A number of counties have taken advantage, he said, although it’s sometimes done in conjunction with raising sales taxes.

“It’s a great tool for counties, because it allows them to provide some tax relief,” Cole said.

He couldn’t recall any counties that had done a straight rollback in recent recent years.

Several school districts, townships and the city of Bellbrook have levies on the May 2 ballot that will renew or add millage to what they collect. The change voted on by the commissioners only effects the millage that is collected for the county general fund.

Miami Township is asking for a 2.4-mill bond issue that would cost $84 per $100,000 of value. And Xenia Community School District is asking for a 37-year, 4.2-mill bond issue for new school buildings. It would cost $147 per year per $100,000 of value and generate $2.7 million annually.

Yellow Springs Exempted Village School District has a 7-mill renewal levy on the ballot. Bellbrook is asking to renew a 1.3-mill levy. And Beavercreek City School District has a 6-mill substitute levy on the ballot that will not raise taxes.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Beavercreek Township would have a police services levy on the May 2 ballot. That measure passed in November.

READ MORE: Beavercreek Twp. tax levy passes after recount

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