Making Democracy Work

Ballot Term Definitions

Definitions of Common Ballot Terms for Hamilton County, Ohio

ASSESSED VALUE: Assessed value is 35% of the market value of a property. In Ohio, property taxes are determined by the assessed value.

COE: Current Operating Expenses

CPT: Continued Period of Time

GAS/ELECTRIC AGGREGATION: Aggregation is the process in which energy is sold to consumers who have joined together as a group to buy 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.

MARKET VALUE: The market value of property is determined by the County Auditor. The valuation considers regional and neighborhood economic conditions, building improvements and land value. By state law, there is a full reassessment to each parcel every six years, followed by a computerized update three years later. The last full reappraisal in Hamilton County was in 2011.

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.

TAX RATE (MILLS): The Full Tax Rate is the total millage for the year, most of which is approved by voters in the taxing district. The Effective Tax Rate is the annual total millage reduced by state mandated reductions such as the rollback and the homestead exemption. This is stated in mills, not dollars.

TAX LEVY: Taxes that are assessed to homeowners and businesses based on their property values. These monies are used to fund government functions as well as special programs or activities determined to be of significant benefit to the citizens. Tax levies may be placed on the ballot for public vote by a government entity (County Commissioners, City Council, Township Trustees) or taxing authority (School Board, Vocational District, Park Board, Library Board)

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.

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.

SPECIAL DISTRICT: A joint fire and/or ambulance district that provides shared services in a legally designated area. A uniform tax rate is levied against all jurisdictions specified in the district.