With about 12 hours left until the polls open, CityBeat concludes its coverage of the non-incumbent candidates for Cincinnati City Council with a question about annexation.
One possible method for Cincinnati to expand its tax revenues and population is to annex smaller communities that surround the city, such as St. Bernard or Delhi Township.
Non-incumbents were asked, “What are your thoughts about Cincinnati possibly acting to annex some smaller communities to expand its tax base?”
Anitra Brockman (Green): “I think it would be a great opportunity for Cincinnati. With the obvious budget deficit, we definitely need to consider expanding the tax base.”
Tony Fischer (Democrat): “This should be under discussion not simply to expand our tax base but also to make costs more equitable across the region. Currently, Cincinnati pays far more in human services costs than most suburban communities, while suburban communities often pay much higher fees for basic services like waste removal, water, as well as fire and emergency medical services.
“Since most people in the region live, work, shop and go to school across these political boundaries, it seems that the political boundaries should serve to support the way people actually live, rather than exist merely to perpetuate themselves.”
Nicholas Hollan (Democrat): “I am open to annexation if it is the will of the community but I don’t believe it is a long-term solution. We have to focus on increasing the quality of life in Cincinnati or our newly acquired residents will simply pack up and move out. If we promote the positives of Cincinnati while simultaneously focusing on the root issues of the challenges we face, the city tax base will grow itself without having to absorb neighboring communities.”
Amy Murray (Republican): “I feel that the future of Cincinnati must see a redefined tax and service base. We must move in the direction of shared services – where services can be improved and cost lowered. There is much duplication of service and cost between Cincinnati, Hamilton County and some of the adjacent communities.”
Laure Quinlivan (Democrat): “If smaller communities want to join us, that’s great. Many small communities may conclude that having their own departments and services makes no sense in this economic climate.”
Bernadette Watson (Democrat): “This is a conversation that must be had with Hamilton County (officials) in order to see if it is feasible to move forward with any annexation plans. Expansion of tax base is important and should be looked at seriously for the benefit of the entire Hamilton County area. Because we are the largest municipality in the county, we need to have a active part in making decisions that affect the entire county.”
George Zamary (Republican): “This, of course, would be more than just Cincinnati acting, but would require the approval of the communities being addressed. I believe this would have to be closely scrutinized because there would be additional costs associated with services to be provided. It may not be a practical alternative at this time with the looming $51.5 million deficit next year. However, the concept of working collaboratively with these communities and share support services may be a reasonable alternative given the current economic climate.”