Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Butler County Update: Auditor Returning $251,100 to Local Communities

HAMILTON, OHIO – At a time when local governments are struggling to pay their bills and meet their obligations, Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds for the second straight year is sending money back to local communities.

By reducing administrative costs, Reynolds announced Tuesday that he is refunding $251,100 to the neighborhoods where the tax money was collected. Coupled with last year’s refund, Reynolds has returned more than $500,000 in less than 18 months.

“When I first took office in April 2008 we set aggressive goals to reduce spending, reform government and return tax dollars,” said Reynolds. “Those goals have not changed and this money we’re giving back reflects that commitment.”

The Auditor’s Office charges local governments a fee set by the State of Ohio for managing and distributing their tax levy money. State law allows any surplus fees to be returned –proportionately to the amount collected.

Reynolds pointed out that by reducing overhead and administrative costs he is able to put that money back to work for the benefit of local neighborhoods and taxpayers.

The Lakota Local School District is receiving the largest revenue boost with a refund of more than $60,600. Cash-strapped Butler County is being refunded more than $41,200 and the Fairfield City School District is getting nearly $27,000.

Since taking office, Reynolds has reduced Real Estate Department costs by 24 percent, or nearly $1 million. This sound, disciplined spending started immediately and within five months turned a projected deficit in the real estate assessment fund into a surplus of $256,300. That money was returned to local communities in 2008. Prior to Reynolds becoming auditor, the office had returned surplus fees just once in the previous 10 years.

According to Reynolds, the returned money will be used to improve numerous local services including:

• Schools ($172,959)
• Public Safety – Fire, Police, EMS ($25,007)
• Special Services – MRDD, Children & Senior Services ($31,920)
• Road/Bridge Improvements ($2,767)
• General Funds/Other Services ($18,447)

“It’s our job as elected officials to improve efficiencies and reduce the tax burden on the citizens of Butler County,” said Reynolds. “My office is operating at 2003 spending levels so I know it can be done. I challenge those receiving these funds to also spend the money wisely.”