Some Input

March 29, 2010

I, too, applaud your efforts. Taking ANY action in support or nonsupport of anything political/governmental is largely unheard of. Discussion is good for the sake of it. It let’s us see how our neighbors view things and even opens our minds to things we might not have thought of. Last year, at this very time, our street (Palmetto) had a rash of breakins. Pretty scary for many of us, and in the 9 years I had at the time lived on the street- unheard of for our street. I took letters to each and every house on our street, from Grove to Plainville. I had maybe 1-2 conversations with neighbors, tops (other than the ones that had the breakins and my normal group I talk to). I got the sense that most of them thought I was “odd” for taking such an interest in the neighborhood/street. I would imagine today, a year later, most have gone on with their customary approach to living their lives…and have given up on the tips/pointers provided by CPD. I never did see an increase in patrol by either Citizens on Patrol (I think I saw their van go down our street one time) or the CPD.

This issue makes block parties a good idea. Getting out once or twice a year to meet or get to know your neighbors can build a sense of community and help reduce crime. Also, there are several skilled people on the street that could help install motion sensing lighting. Deterrence doesn’t need to be expensive and to some degree, we’re on our own. I thought I had a situation where someone was in my house. It was about 15 minutes before CPD got an officer to my house.

So, what does this have to do with your topic? Nothing, I suppose, directly. But, indirectly, I think it has some value.

I am not really in favor of leaving Cincinnati to go to Columbia Township mostly because it has little if any direct value to me. Property tax would go up, and schools stay the same. The neighborhood wouldn’t change any (safety, crime, housing statistics, etc.). Maybe our street wouldn’t be the very last street in the universe to be plowed, but, I have learned to live with that.

The City taxes us 2.1%, as a resident of, but, not an employee of an employer located in, the City. My understanding of this is : you get a “credit” so to speak, income tax wise, and never pay more than the max of where you live and work. For instance, if I worked in a municipality that had a .5% tax, I would pay that .5% tax to the municipality, and then the balance over to the City. I am not aware of any changes in Ohio law that would effect this.

So, income tax wise, it could be a limited benefit to someone like that me, someone living in a City, but working in another Township. I would pay no income tax to the City of Cincinnati.

The splitting of income tax between where you live and where you work is a “gentlemen’s” agreement between communities and not Ohio law. Currently, if you work in Cincinnati and live in Mariemont, you pay the full 2.1% to the city, and then .5% to Mariemont. This was not the case in the past.

Really, though, if the only reason to move is to stay away from the decisions made by those in charge in the City of Cincinnati, doesn’t it make more sense to fight those decisions directly? Isn’t moving taking a NIMBY type approach? Street cars, light rail, stadium reconstructions/new builds…someone is always on the other side. I was so against the stadium tax. I voted against it. Obviously, I was in the minority. We now have a lovely stadium, super crappy sports team, and no funds for our schools or communities. (Not saying they are related, but that the priorities are very messed up).

So, keep talking, as maybe something other than moving out of the City will come from it.

Questions and Answers

March 26, 2010

Is there a charge for trash removal, recycling and brush removal?

There is no charge for trash removal, recycling or brush removal. Trash and recycling are picked up weekly. Brush is picked-up on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month. Depending on the amount of brush set out your brush may be picked-up on Tuesday or Wednesday of those weeks. Leaves are picked-up by the Township from mid October to mid December after these dates; leaves may also be disposed of with your household trash.

Does this change our school district?

The state controls school districts. We would still be in the Cincinnati school district. There is a process to move to a new school district. I talked with the Ohio Department of Education and they are sending me information on the process. At present, some areas of Columbia Township attend Indian Hill schools.

What is the income tax rate?

The township can only have property taxes and tax increases must be voted on by the people in the township.

What is the property tax?

The city is 1.95%. The township is 2.35%. My property in Cincinnati is $1,577.67. In the township it would be $1,869.71. If my property was in the township and the school district was Indian Hill, the rate would be 1.406% or $1,135.98.

The median income tax for the city is $630. In the past, if you worked in one city and lived in another city, you paid taxes to the city you worked in and not where you live. These agreements between the local taxing districts are being changed. More and more people in the county are paying income tax in both the area they work and the area they live.

Ultimately, it comes down to what is in your best interests now and in the future. Leaving will cause some peoples total taxes to go up a little and others down a little now. Changing schools districts will bring down taxes. The big question is whether the city is going to be fiscally responsible in the future. I’m betting not. The street car alone will increase taxes for decades and cause bus service to be reduced.

What is the procedure for pursing a change?

The process is written about below.

Is Columbia Township in favor of this move?

The township takes a neutral position. They do this because the city wants to annex areas like where Home Depot and Lowes are located. They don’t want to battle with the city over land and risk losing commercial property. The more commercial property that leaves the township, the higher the costs is on home owners for the township to provide services.

Will the City of Cincinnati ‘fight’ this move?
And, with the presumption that the City will fight this move, what are the costs to the current City residents, if any?

The city is unpredictable but Ohio law doesn’t provide the city with any grounds to prevent this move. The law is clear that if people are fed up with a local government, they are free to leave that government and join a township or form a new local government.

Does this mean we would then be policed by the County Sheriffs? If so, aren’t they also over burdened with tax cuts? Would we really be gaining a safer neighborhood (that might be a concern of mine, only).

The area would be policed by the county, but the area is already policed by the county. Also, our area is bordered by Mariemont and Indian Hill and it’s not uncommon to see their law enforcement in our area. These two villages have a vested interest is seeing that crime doesn’t increase in our area.

EMS services are a different story. Currently, 911 dispatchers have to take time and figure out which department to send to our area. For us, the first response has to come from the station at Hyde Park square. Only then can other departments be called in. By being in the township, first response comes from LMFD which is a few blocks away. They could then quickly call in resources from the neighboring villages if needed.

Who is the driving force behind this annexation?

There is no group or organization behind the move to leave the city. Over the past few years, people I’ve talked with have expressed an interest in being in the township. We wouldn’t be annexed, just leaving the city. You could say we are taking a step in restoring the city to its rightful borders.

Cincinnati 1880

The Process

March 26, 2010

The process is defined by Ohio law. It is basically of opposite of an area being annexed. There are 3 sets of documents that need to be submitted to the county.

A surrey plat from the recorders office.
A list of the lots that will leave the city.
A petition of 51% of the land owners requesting to leave.

Once this is done, the city and the township will work out a formula to share property taxes to pay for any improvements in the area that is leaving the city. In our area, that would be the costs of upgrading the storm drains a few years back.

Who leaves and who stays is up to the people. Everyone east of Plainville Rd can leave, or only the people in odd numbered houses on Palmetto between Kenmore and Berwick can leave.

The issue to think about is the long term future. Is the city going to raise income taxes? Is the city going to implement an inheritance tax (Mariemont has one)? Will my property be more attractive to buyers if it’s in the city or township?

For those new to responding.

March 25, 2010

When I was passing out cards today, I found that some of our residents may not be familiar with the comment system. You don’t have to use your real name or a real email address. Feel free to use a fictitious name and a fictitious email address. Just use a made up name, but after that, use for the email address. Email address are neither collected or saved. They’re used just to prevent bulk spam from being posted.

Some good questions came in today. I’m going need to talk with people in a few different jurisdictions to answer those questions. When I have accurate information to answers your questions, I’ll post them here.


March 24, 2010

Ohio law makes it possible for a community or neighborhood to leave an incorporated city and form their own government or join with an existing township. While there are many reasons a group of people might wish to do this, it’s mostly done for safety or tax reasons.

Most of you in our area are well aware that the city lacks the ability to clear and maintain the roads in our area. But are you aware that our emergency services are located some 4 miles away in Hyde Park square? They way our neighborhood is setup, this causes delays as 911 dispatchers have to spend time figuring out which EMS department should respond to an emergency. By leaving the city, EMS services would be provided by the township and are located less than a half mile away.

Anyone who has lived in the area for sometime knows the city is not particularly fiscally responsible. The city is talking about selling half a billion of taxpayer own assets to fund its pension system while the mayor talks about building a streetcar system that will burden taxpayers for decades.

Around the country, people are moving to avoid irresponsible government. I’d rather move the border between me and the city than sell my house. As the spring approaches, we’ll be conducting some polling to see if the neighborhood backs leaving the city. If there truly is a strong interest, then we’ll begin the formal process and use this site to track the progress.

Feel free to post comments or ask questions.