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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hamilton County "well-positioned" for future growth and prosperity

Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper gave the second annual State of the County Address on February 18. In that address, Commissioner Pepper recapped what was accomplished and experienced in a difficult 2009, and what the County needs to do to be successful in 2010. You can watch the State of the County Address yourself, or you can read through a brief summary below.

  • With record decreases in sales tax receipts (7.5%), property sales and transaction revenues (42% since 2007), and interest earnings (50%), Hamilton County was forced to make tough decisions to balance its budget and shave off 22% ($60 million) of its overall costs and back to 1998 levels.
  • Making job creation and retention a top priority, Hamilton County officials were able to create more than 50 economic development projects and create or retain 13,000 jobs.
  • The balanced budget without adding any additional tax burden on the citizens earned Hamilton County high marks in Moody's credit rating.
  • The County's free foreclosure counseling program has saved 2,175 homes from foreclosure and 985 in 2009 alone...thus saving the County from an estimated $50 million in lost property value.
  • The County's new prescription drug discount card was used 17,000 times in the first year and generated savings of 21.17% for its users resulting in $200,000 of savings.
  • Of Ohio's six largest urban counties, Hamilton County has the lowest property tax as a percentage of income, and is tied for the lowest sales tax.
  • Hamilton County's SuperJobs center linked 2,200 people to jobs and provided job training to 660 youth in the community. New training programs are focusing on health care, construction and green job industries.
  • Public Safety takes up 70% of the County's budget.


Leiflet said...

I'm really disappointed that Public Safety spends 70% of the county's budget. We could easily think of much better ways to invest that money in the county.

And even within the system of PS, Cincinnati seems more interested in punishing, fining, and monitoring criminals than solving problems. Crime isn't something that gets fixed by reacting to it-- there have to be alternatives.

I hope we elect people like Greg Harris who are willing to try new tactics to fight century-old problems. If it's broke, fix it.

Randy Simes said...

The public safety system needs an overhaul in my opinion to do more of what you're saying. Instead of focusing so much on the punishment, we should be focusing instead on how to keep people out of a life of crime.

And coming from a local government background, I know that the vast majority of local budgets are taken up by public safety leaving the rest of the departments having to do more with less on an annual basis. There's more that goes into the public's health, safety and welfare than police and fire...unfortunately that's the only thing some people see when they think of public safety.

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