Grandview Heights council sends property-tax renewal to November ballot

ALAN FROMAN
afroman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Grandview Heights voters will decide Nov. 3 whether to renew the city's expiring 7.5-mill property-tax levy.

City Council July 20 voted 6-0 to place the levy renewal on the fall ballot. Council member Rebekah Hatzifotinos was absent from the meeting.

Prior to the council meeting, council's finance committee reviewed the resolution and unanimously recommended passage.

Voters first approved the levy in 2012 and approved a renewal of the four-year, 7.5-mill property-tax levy in March 2016. The renewal is set to expire Dec. 31.

If voters approve the levy renewal, it would generate an estimated $1,910,541 annually based on Grandview's current assessed valuation of $340,695,230.

The 7.5-mill property tax provides about 17% of the city's general-fund revenue, city finance director Megan Miller said.

The effective rate of the levy would be 5.36 mills for residential properties and 6.64 mills for commercial and industrial properties, she said.

If the renewal is approved, a residential property owner would pay $164 annually per $100,000 of appraised value of their house, Miller said.

The average market value of a house in Grandview Heights is $389,000 according to the county auditor's office, and the owner of a house with that value would pay $640 annually, once the 12.5 % rollbacks paid by the state are included, she said.

The 7.5-mill levy was approved in 2012 as a replacement measure for an expiring levy.

If the renewal is approved, the levy would be extended another four years through Dec. 31, 2024.

The levy is simply a renewal of the existing property-tax measure and would not increase residents' taxes, finance committee chairman Chris Smith said.

The renewal would allow the city to maintain a robust street-maintenance program, Mayor Greta Kearns said.

"The standards in this community for service are very high," she said.

"We have years of deferred maintenance on infrastructure. We need probably at least a $700,000, $800,000, possibly a $1 million street program to keep things at the level we want them to be."

Residents often ask her when their street is "going to get fixed," and the property-tax levy allows the response to be "this year, next year -- it's on the list," Kearns said.

But without funds from the levy, some of those projects would have to be delayed, she said.

Although the levy would not directly provide any money for a potential project to build a new municipal complex near the Grandview Center and former service and building department building at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Goodale Boulevard, it would affect those plans, Miller said.

"If the levy is not passed, we certainly won't have the funds to do a new building," she said, adding the city would have to use any cash balances to cover other expenses.

The levy's renewal is especially important as the COVID-19 coronavirus and the nation's economic downturn present an uncertain future that may include a long-lasting financial crisis, Kearns said.

The quality of services the city provides costs money, and the levy is a vital revenue source, she said.

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