When residents entrust their tax dollars to the city of Hilliard, how is it reinvested in our community?

Great question.

Let's look at what happens to residents' local income-tax and property-tax dollars and how the city works to be a good steward of the resources entrusted to it.

Hilliard's primary funding source is a 2% income tax paid by individuals who work within Hilliard corporate limits (regardless of where they live) or live in this community and do not pay at least 2% in local income taxes to another municipality.

Hilliard's income-tax rate is lower than that collected by Columbus, Upper Arlington and Worthington residents (2.5%) and is the same as that paid by communities, such as Dublin, Grove City and Westerville. Residents who work in any of those communities get a 2% credit and do not pay income taxes to Hilliard.

Regardless of whether they pay income taxes to the city, every Hilliard resident age 18 and older must file an income-tax form through the Regional Income Tax Agency. Learn more about RITA at hilliardohio.gov/taxes.

How does the city invest the money entrusted to us by our taxpayers?

* Two-thirds of our expenditures are for operating expenses. As is typical in a municipal government, most of those operating expenses pay for the staff members who have the most direct effect on our residents' daily lives: police, recreation and parks and public-service workers who handle such projects as snow plowing and leaf collection. Safety is a core priority, and our men and women in blue represent 57% of our staffing costs. Recreation and parks and public service comprise another 25% of our personnel costs.

* 25% of our funds are reinvested into the community through capital-improvements projects, such as transportation, infrastructure, parkland acquisition and development, the HiFiO fiber-optic network and vehicles. In 2020, $15.4 million has been scheduled for capital-improvements projects.

* 10% is allocated for street maintenance. Whenever possible, the city uses existing funds rather than by borrowing to avoid paying interest to fix potholes and resurface neighborhood streets.

Our efficient use of resources was one of the reasons the city received a Aaa bond rating in 2019. That is the highest rating Moody's provides. Moody's also reports that it projects a stable outlook for the city's financial future. As of 2019, only 15 other municipalities in Ohio had a Aaa rating.

Whereas the city primarily is funded through income taxes, property taxes largely are invested in Hilliard City Schools, Franklin County and Norwich Township – mostly for fire services. The city of Hilliard receives just 1.74% of local property taxes, or less than 2 cents of every dollar collected.

Questions about local taxes?

For more about local taxes, as well as city financial reports, go to hilliardohio.gov/departments/finance.

David DeLande is finance director for Hilliard.