A merger between Hamilton Schools and Butler Tech has some residents seeing a surprise increase in their tax bill.
The joint educational agreement, which ended Hamilton’s run as the last school system in Butler County not to partner with Butler Tech, was approved in 2018. It led to Butler Tech holding classes at Hamilton’s old career center next to Hamilton High School beginning in August 2019.
Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix, said her office has fielded some complaints recently sparked by the latest tax bills sent out showing a charge for Butler Tech’s educational services.
“Our office was not aware of any levies that had passed for Hamilton so we contacted the (county) auditor’s office who informed us of the merger that had taken place a year ago,” Nix said. “Since that time, we’ve been notifying those who call our office to contact the Hamilton City School district for more information.”
In response to questions, Hamilton and Butler Tech officials recently released a joint statement saying that a legal advertisement was placed in the Journal-News from April 30, 2018 to May 13, 2018 about the coming merger. No referendum vote about the merger was placed on the ballot because there was no response, officials said. Therefore, the new tax went into effect.
“Hamilton City School district is always looking for innovative opportunities to enhance student experiences and provide career-related options. Hamilton City School district and the merger with Butler Tech allow Hamilton students top priority to a broad range of programming opportunities that were not available prior to the merger,” the statement said.
“It should be noted that the taxes collected for bonded debt in the Hamilton City School district decreased by a half mill on the current tax bill, which softened the increase by approximately 25 percent.”
The amount of the new Butler Tech tax varies according to a taxpayer’s property value, but Nix provided an example. The owner of a $212,000 home in Hamilton saw a $93 annual increase in school taxes, she said.
Without the half-mill decrease in Hamilton Schools’ bonded debt, the tax increase would have been $125, officials said.
Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds said that “the schools provided the window of opportunity to ask questions … and challenge the tax increase but unfortunately no one questioned it.”
Hamilton and Butler Tech officials said that “ultimately, the decision will be positive to present and future generations of Hamilton City School graduates as the merger provides 21st-century experiences for students in a career-oriented educational setting.”
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