Miami Conservancy rate changes leave some paying more than $10K for flood protection



Owners of hundreds of properties across the region could end up paying more than $1,000 a year to the Miami Conservancy District for flood protection after proposed rate increases go into effect, according to data obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

This includes dozens of properties that could pay more than $10,000 per year; one property owner is looking at assessments of roughly $478,000.

The data shows more than 83% of people paying proposed maintenance and capital assessments to the Miami Conservancy District would spend less than $250 per year on the charges.

The Miami Conservancy District has proposed a new 1% capital assessment and a 0.59% increase to the 2.19% maintenance assessment thousands of residents are already paying. The assessments will cover costs related to upkeep and rehabilitation of the levee and dam system.

The new assessment and increased rates are being applied to updated values. Rates are currently based on values from 12 years ago. So combined with recent, historic increases to property values the charge increase on some properties is substantial.

The newspaper requested a breakdown of assessment charges by county from the district that oversees the region’s dam and levee system in a public records request.

Miami Conservancy District assessment totals by county

Amount paid in assessmentsButlerHamiltonMontgomeryMiamiWarrenTotal% by Range
Over $10,0011704930690.16%
$5,001 - $10,0002105530790.18%
$1,001 - $5,00017934713566941.60%
$501 - $1,000381511241922217243.98%
$251 - $5001538211934681216439010.15%
$101 - $25028758723591047418678615.68%
$26 - $10051143425993140319801483234.28%
$2 - $25337641756485865131054024.36%
Less than $21573251191825515541529.60%

Source: Miami Conservancy District

The 69 properties in Montgomery, Butler and Miami counties that will be charged more than $10,001 account for less than 1% of the 43,000 properties paying the assessments. By comparison, 14,692 properties — or more than a third — would end up paying $25 or less.

Other properties will pay significantly more than $10,001.

Spooky Nook Sports, an indoor sports complex and convention center in Hamilton, has conservancy district assessment charges of roughly $478,000 the company would need to pay in 2025.

Twelve years ago, Spooky Nook was not a multi-million-dollar development; rather, it was the old Champion Paper Mill.

Spooky Nook owner Sam Beiler attended a special Hamilton City Council meeting on Thursday, which included a presentation by Miami Conservancy District officials, to express dismay over the proposed charges, pointing out the bill he’d begin paying in 2025 would be 50 times more than what he’s currently paying.

He called the approach of and the timing of the assessments “absolute foolhardiness.”

The reappraisal of assessments follows the historic rise in property values in Ohio. Montgomery County saw an average increase of 34% in residential property value countywide as a part of the state-mandated triennial update last year. The average increase in Butler County is 37%.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Assessment totals are calculated in a formula that weighs the level of flood protection the property receives, the property’s land and building value and other factors.

The Miami Conservancy District says it has identified about $140 million in short-term and long-term projects needed to ensure levees, dams and channels across the region remain safe and effective. Aging infrastructure, extreme weather events and increasing rainfall are putting pressure on the regional flood protection system, which has critical maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and reinvestment needs.

The system protects properties worth a combined $10 billion, including about $2.8 billion in Dayton alone.

These assessments are not taxes and are currently based on property values from 12 years ago, according to the Miami Conservancy District. By law, the conservancy district cannot make adjustments more frequently than every six years.

The conservancy district planned to reappraise property in 2020, but it was delayed because of the January 2021 Butler County property tax appeal by former county auditor Roger Reynolds, which he lost. That delay caused, MCD officials said, an annual deficit of $3 million, which was covered by the district’s cash reserves.

The conservancy district created a database for property owners covered by flood protection to check what they’ll be charged for the two assessments. The newspaper requested the data from this database in a public records request, which the conservancy district is processing as of this week.

Conservancy district leaders said property owners have until May 3 to file exceptions for their flood benefits. More information about exceptions can be found on the Miami Conservancy District’s website.

The Miami Conservancy District will be holding a special board meeting on May 3 at Hamilton City Hall to discuss flood protection benefits.

A board of county common pleas court judges in July is tasked with considering the appraisal record and proposed rates for assessments. These assessments will be filed with county auditor’s offices in September. Assessments will be collected in early 2025.

Staff writer Michael Pitman contributed to this report.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

About the Author