Press Release From Todd Portune Regarding The Icon Tax Vote

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Earlier today the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners failed to support the Motion by Commissioner Todd Portune to advance a 14 year ¼ cent sales tax increase to fund, in partnership with the City of Cincinnati, private philanthropic donors and others, that would, if approved by voters in November, completely fund the needed renovations at Music Hall and Museum Center. The plan I proposed was the plan advanced by the Cultural Facilities Task Force as amended by the work that I and others did, which included these additional elements negotiated in the week leading up to today’s vote:

  • ·       10$ Million more from the City of Cincinnati to be paid against annual maintenance and upkeep at both venues that works to guarantee that there is no deferred maintenance that becomes future years’ structural needs; and
  • ·       Elimination of the Dalton Street work [$9-$10 million reduction in cost]; and
  • ·       An additional $10 Million pledge of private donations raising the private philanthropy to $50 Million altogether; and
  • ·       An executed Public-Private MOU that imposes a “User Fee” at Music Hall, Museum Center and on all Cincinnati Arts Association sponsored events.  The User Fee raises $30 Million over 25 years to reduce public taxpayer debt by $10 Million and leverages the city’s additional maintenance and preservation fund to such a degree that we can assure the public and assure Museum Center that the Property Tax at Museum Center on Hamilton County property owners will be permanently eliminated

Instead, the Board in a 2 – 1 vote adopted the proposal by Commission President Chris Monzel to advance a five year ¼ cent tax to fund Museum Center alone.

Commissioner Greg Hartmann voted in favor of the Monzel proposal.

I, did not.

I have already begun to be inundated with emails angrily attacking me for failing the community by not supporting a measure to fund both structures.  That is obviously occurring because reports are issuing on line, on radio, over the television airwaves, and otherwise, that discuss the action by the county today in broad terms that say only that “the county” or “commissioners” voted to approve a museum center only measure to the exclusion of Music Hall.

In the interest of accuracy I am respectfully asking you to accurately report the vote, to wit: to report that the vote was 2 – 1 against including Music Hall in the program and that I proposed a ballot initiative that would have provided funding to both.  Reports that say only “the county” or the “commissioners” imply that all three members of the Board were unanimous in their action.  We were not.

I thank you in advance for your anticipated assistance and cooperation in this important matter.

Respectfully yours,

Todd Portune

Todd Portune

Hamilton County Commissioner

138 East Court Street, Ste. 603

Cincinnati, OH  45202

(513)946-4401

[email protected]