Commissioner Chris Monzel speaks on  
Hamilton County Priorities
The Choice on Union Terminal Will Be Yours in November 

Monzel's words August 6, 2014 
"I know everyone in this room has a lot of passion and commitment in saving both of these institutions (Union Terminal & Music Hall). I certainly appreciate that commitment and zeal for being involved in this process. At the end of the day, however, passion and zeal are sometimes trumped by hard realities....and that's dollars and cents, what makes sense for the big picture for our community.  As commissioners, we are charged to keep our communities safer for families and individuals, provide an atmosphere that promotes jobs and businesses, and be fiscally responsible so our necessary services are available to meet the needs of everyday living in our communities such as Delhi Towhnship, Sharonville, Norwood, Colerain Township.
Right now, as Commissioners we are looking at such items as;
  • 120 million dollars that is going to be necessary to maintain our county buildings
  • Construction of the new crime lab that people around the county say that they desperately need and want, that price tag around 30-40 million dollars.
  • Updated 911 system that we need to keep our citizens safe which would be 13-14 million dollars
  • We have the replacement of the Board of Elections voting equipment, that I think everyone agrees is necessary to ensure our right to vote and keep that right safe from any intrusion.

Those are just some of the big ticket items that we are facing.  We get reports every day from various elected county officials to consider upgrade for systems, services, man power to keep county services going at a minimum.   I know some people are tired of hearing my line about the two stadiums....they say Museum Center and Music Hall are different...well I disagree.


By Ohio Law, County Commissioners only have the authority to raise sales tax up to one dollar in their communities.  We currently have fifty cents of that, 50% of that taxing authority is committed to our two stadiums.   Every day when I am out in the community, people ask me, 'How in the world did the Commissioners back in 1996 could box the county in to such a long term agreement that takes away half of your taxing authority?'


Today we are faced for another request for a quarter of a cent sales tax increase, for another significant period of time...fourteen years.  Right now economic times are getting better. We have jobs and industry coming into the county, because we have fought to keep our taxes low to encourage this growth.  Now we look around today, whether you believe it or not, I do support and cherish the two buildings. However, I cannot in good conscious support the plan committed by the Cultural Facilities Task Force.


I believe that it is in the long term best interest of the Hamilton County tax payer that we have a shortened period of sales tax should be submitted to the voters. That the plan will be a five year plan that would generate approximately $170 million dollars of capital revenue for the Museum Center alone.  I believe a plan focusing on Museum Center is necessary to ensure the financial viability of our county. Again our local economic picture seems to be brighter today, but we all know that could change in a heartbeat.  I believe the repairs to the Museum center are immediate and necessary. That's where our focus should be.


So today, I am submitting a resolution for a five year quarter cent sales tax.  Which again through the numbers that we are looking at, the public ask is about 163 million, with about 15.5 million in philanthropy...  I am cutting that in half to get to the 170 million necessary to put forward the necessary repairs at the Museum Center."    


To express your support or your disagreement with this approach to repair Union Terminal only please write the commissioners at:

President Chris Monzel:  [email protected]  (513) 946-4409 (ph)
Vice President Greg Hartmann:  [email protected]   (513) 946-4406 (ph)
Commissioner Todd Portune:  [email protected]  (513) 946-4401 (ph)


Our #1 goal in this process is to help educate you on the facts of this levy for November 2014. 


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