DAYTON — Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith announced on Monday the distribution of nearly $91 million in property tax revenue to the county’s school districts, municipalities and other governmental entities in the county’s final settlement of taxes brought-in during the first-half property tax collection period.
Keith’s office has already advanced an additional $365 million in property tax funds to jurisdictions that requested them. More than 70 percent of jurisdictions requested an advance. In total, local jurisdictions received $496 million from the first-half property tax collection period.
Since first-half property tax bills were due in February, these funds are unaffected by the current health emergency. As local governments face shortfalls of sales tax and income tax revenues due to the COVID-19 health emergency, property taxes have remained a stable source of revenue, according to Keith.
“Our local schools and municipalities need these funds to maintain the essential services that we rely on, such as paramedics and public safety personnel, so we made it our top priority to get these funds to our municipalities at this critical time,” said Keith.
The distribution process is not a simple task. The auditor’s office must account for and distribute nearly $500 million in taxpayer dollars, twice a year. There are 97 taxing districts in the county, each with a different tax rate, so auditor’s office staff must make complex calculations to ensure each taxing entity receives the correct amount of funds. Deemed an essential service by Keith, this work was completed by auditor’s office staff remotely during Ohio’s Stay at Home order.
“I applaud my staff’s dedication to completing this important work, despite the difficult circumstances. I also want to thank County Treasurer Russ Joseph and his staff for their assistance in balancing the overall collection and getting these dollars distributed to the proper authorities in a timely manner,” said Keith.
School districts are the primary beneficiaries of property tax revenue. More than 60 cents of every property tax dollar in the county goes to a local school district.
Montgomery County Human Services (including disability services), which received $72 million in distributions, is the next largest beneficiary. These funds support a number of county services, including children services, addiction services and senior services. Human service levy funding also accounts for nearly 70 percent of the general fund budget of Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County, a vital agency during the COVID-19 crisis.
Centerville City Schools received the most revenue of any school district, with more than $52 million in property tax revenue. Dayton and Kettering City Schools followed, each bringing-in around $47 million. These numbers include tax advances.
Montgomery County Treasurer Russ Joseph’s office collects property taxes each year on behalf of the county’s local governments. Then, the county auditor’s office accounts for and distributes that revenue to each jurisdiction. The treasurer’s delinquent collections increased 4.13 percent this year, compared to last February’s collections.
“Treasurer Joseph has worked this past year to make it easier for property owners to pay their taxes, and it’s clear those changes paid off,” said Keith.
To best reflect the total revenue each jurisdiction received, the calculations reported here include delinquent taxes. They also include revenue from Ohio’s property tax rollback payments, where the state reimburses local governments for revenue lost to state tax relief programs, such as the Homestead Exemption.