BALLOT LANGUAGE DEFINITIONS
What is a Mill
What is a Renewal Levy
What is a Replacement Levy
What is an Emergency Tax Levy
What is a Bond Issue
What is an Initiative
What is a Referendum
What is a Zoning Referendum
What is an Electric/Gas Aggregation
What is the Hamilton County Tax Levy Review Committee
WHAT IS A MILL?
The property tax is measured in mills; a mill is one tenth of a cent. This translates
to $1 for each $1,000 taxable value of the property. The taxable value is 35% of the fair
market value, which is determined by the County Auditor's Office. By state law, counties must
revalue all real property every three years. The last reappraisal was done in 2008. The next reappraisal will be completed in 2011, payable in 2012.
WHAT IS A RENEWAL LEVY?
A Renewal Levy is the CONTINUANCE OF AN EXISTING LEVY with the collection rate at the
same dollar amount as when the levy was originally approved. (Reference: Ohio Secretary of
WHAT IS A REPLACEMENT LEVY
A replacement levy is a NEW LEVY FOR THE SAME PURPOSE AS THE EXISTING LEVY but with a
different collection rate than the levy it replaces. The collection rate uses the assessed
value of the property at the time of the replacement. (Reference: Ohio Secretary of State
WHAT IS AN EMERGENCY TAX LEVY?
An Emergency Tax Levy allows a SCHOOL system to receive a specific dollar amount that
will not change with property evaluations during the term of the levy. Once a school levy
has been designated an Emergency Tax Levy, it must retain that earmark.
WHAT IS A BOND ISSUE?
A bond issue is when a state government, or a local unit of government (city, county, school district) places a question before the voters, asking them to approve or deny additional proposed spending. Bond issues are customarily used to borrow money in order to finance major capital projects and repay it over an extended period of time. School districts and municipalities often make use of the bond election authority to pay for school construction or community facilities. State legislatures or local units of government may also place such a question before the voters in their political jurisdiction because of laws that prevent the unit of government from raising taxes or spending beyond a certain level without the approval of voters.
WHAT IS AN INITIATIVE?
An initiative is the right the Ohio Constitution reserves for Ohioans to PROPOSE
LEGISLATION OR AMENDMENTS TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION.
Constitutional Amendments may be initiated directly by the people, bypassing the
Procedure - A summary of the proposed amendment must be certified by the attorney
general. The full text of the amendment and the summary are then filed with the
secretary of state. The citizens who initiated the amendment must circulate petitions
to collect enough signatures to equal ten percent of the electors voting for governor in
the last gubernatorial election. Signatures must come from at least half of Ohio’s 88
counties and represent five percent of the total vote cast for governor in that county in
the last gubernatorial election. Signatures must be received by the secretary of state
no later than 90 days prior to the general election, so that the secretary of state, with
the assistance of the local boards of elections, can verify the validity of the signatures.
The ballot wording, prepared by the Ohio Ballot Board, along with arguments for the
amendment prepared by the initiating committee and arguments against it by
persons named by the legislature, is published once a week for three weeks in a
newspaper or general circulation in each county. If a majority of the voters approve the
amendment it becomes part of the constitution.
Laws are initiated indirectly by the people since the petition must be submitted to the
Procedure - Signatures of three percent of the electors voting in the last gubernatorial
election are required to introduce the proposed law in the legislature. If the legislature
does not pass the law in four months, or if an amended version is passed, the
petitioners have 90 days to collect signatures of an additional three percent of the
electors and place it on the ballot. Signatures must be obtained from half of the 88
counties. The law is voted on at the next general election 90 days after the petition is
filed and becomes effective if approved by the voters. It is not subject to the governor’s
veto. (Reference: LWVO Education Fund. Know Your Ohio Government, 9th Edition. pg.
WHAT IS A REFERENDUM?
A referendum is the right the Ohio Constitution reserves for Ohioans to vote to ADOPT
OR REJECT LAWS PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE.
Procedure - A referendum on a law already passed by the legislature may be
requested by petition within 90 days after the law has been filed with the secretary of
state. It may not be requested on an emergency law, tax levy or appropriations for
current expenses. Signatures of six percent of the electors voting in the last
gubernatorial election are required on the petition and must be obtained in at least 44
of the 88 counties. The law is submitted to the voters at the next general election 60
days after the petition if filed and cannot become effective unless approved by a
majority of the voters. (Reference: LWVO Education Fund. Know Your Ohio
Government, 9th Edition. pg. 142. 2004)
WHAT IS A ZONING REFERENDUM?
A Zoning Referendum is used only by citizens of a township to override their trustees'
vote. Signatures by petition, equal to 8% of the vote cast in the last gubernatorial
election, must be collected for a zoning referendum to be placed on the ballot.
WHAT IS AN ELECTRIC/GAS AGGREGATION
Aggregation is the process in which energy is sold to consumers who have joined
together as a group to buy a product, electric or natural gas. Local governments may
aggregate the energy used by their residents and arrange for the purchase of
electricity or natural gas as “governmental aggregators.” Ohio law gives local
governments the option to choose either an opt-in or opt-out form of aggregation. The
“Opt-in” form requires that each consumer agrees to participate in the program before
being included in the aggregation pool. It does not require voter approval at an
election. The “Opt-out” form automatically includes each consumer in the aggregated
pool unless the individual affirmatively decides not to participate. It requires approval
by a majority of the voters at an election.
Gas aggregation issues typically read: “Shall the (name of local government) have the
authority to aggregate the retail natural gas loads located in the (name of local
government), and enter into service agreements to facilitate for those loads the sale
and purchase of natural gas, such aggregation to occur automatically except where
any person elects to opt out?"
WHAT IS THE HAMILTON COUNTY TAX LEVY REVIEW COMMITTEE
The County appointed, 9 member, Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC) serves in an
advisory capacity to the Hamilton County Commissioners. Prior to the placement of
each levy on the ballot, the TLRC hears agency requests for funding, engages a
consultant to review agency financial and spending practices and considers the midterm
review of agency budget targets and contractual requirements. After studying all
the information gathered, the Committee works to balance the public need for
services with the ability of Hamilton County citizens to bear the tax burden to fund
these services. At the completion of their review, the TLRC sends a written report of
findings and recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners. The
Commissioners make the final decision regarding the levy that is placed before the
ADD = Addition
COE = Current operating expenses
CPT = Continued period of time
REN = Renewal