The message at a July 18 County Commission public hearing: Don’t reduce funding for mental health and senior services.
On July 12, the county’s Tax Levy Review Committee recommended to commissioners that the levies that fund services such as Meals on Wheels, home care and counseling for 30,000 county residents should remain at their current rate — an effective cut to their funding.
Property owners currently pay $77.70 in taxes from the levy on a $100,000 home. Maintaining the current levy would reduce funding because of declining property values.
Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls urged commissioners to make sure senior services were fully funded.
“When families have to make the choice between caregiving and work...that is a terrible choice to put families in the midst of,” Qualls said.
The Tax Levy Review Committee recommended that the agencies receiving funding from the levies find areas to cut and operate more efficiently.
Mental Health and Recovery Services Board Chairman Thomas Gableman said creating efficiencies might not be possible.
Gableman said the board has implemented nearly $4 million in cuts over the last year.
“When the Tax Levy Review Committee talks about increase in efficiencies, we’ve gone through that exercise...When we start talking about cuts, it will be in services.”
Pat Tribbe, Mental Health Board president and CEO, said voters would see only a $6 increase in property taxes to keep the board’s funding level.
Commissioners plan to have two more public hearings on the levies on Aug. 1 before they vote to determine final levy amounts Aug. 8. Ultimately, Hamilton County voters will determine the levies’ fates in November.