Home News Ross County: Lehner, Jeffers pitch 2025 property tax cut to Commissioners

Ross County: Lehner, Jeffers pitch 2025 property tax cut to Commissioners


(Chillicothe) — Ross County Auditor Jeff Lehner and Treasurer David Jeffers today proposed a one-year, $3.7 million 2025 property tax cut to the Ross County Commissioners that would reduce Ross County homeowners’ tax bills next year by $70 per $100,000 appraised value. The plan is the result of months’ worth of budget research and tracking by Lehner and Jeffers and staff members, and would provide tax relief for Ross County property owners while maintaining six-months’ worth of operating expenses in savings for the County as a Rainy Day Fund.

“Treasurer Jeffers & I are in full agreement that the County’s financial state is such that providing tax relief as soon as we’re able is an easy call,” Lehner said. “This is a continuation of the conversation that took place most of last year with the Commissioners ultimately deciding to maintain Ross County’s status quo in our current budget.”

“Auditor Lehner & I have put together a common sense plan that maintains funding for Ross County’s priorities while acknowledging that continuing to build our general fund at the rate we’ve seen in recent years can’t go on for us to be able to call ourselves effective stewards,” Jeffers said. “It’s time to give some of this surplus back.”

The $3.7 million tax cut is fully paid for in the Lehner-Jeffers plan in five steps:

1.) Exhaust the County’s Medicaid Sales Tax Transition Fund ($1,335,279). These are funds received by the state in 2017 that have been untouched by the County since 2018 and are separate from the County’s general fund cash account. ***Zero impact on County general fund current operations.

2.) Commit projected 2024 sales tax surplus revenue to 2025 tax relief ($332,478). Inflated consumer prices continue to provide revenue in excess of what was projected for this year; plan is to use these funds to offset reduced 2025 property tax collections resulting from a rate cut. ***Zero impact on County general fund current operations.

3.) Commit projected 2024 interest income surplus revenue to 2025 tax relief ($952,638). The Federal Reserve’s decision not to cut interest rates this month as previously expected suggests that interest income will continue to exceed expectations well into the second half of this year; plan is similar here as in item 2 above. ***Zero impact on County general fund current operations.

4.) Suspend 2025 general fund grant to Ross County Park District and commit proceeds to property tax relief ($285,000). The annual general fund grant to the Park District dates back to before the District had its own voter-approved levy. Today the Park District charges its own tax on Ross County property owners and the District currently projects its own $600,000-plus carryover. ***Zero impact on County general fund current operations.

5.) Trim the County’s general fund carryover back to $17.6 million ($800,000). Last year the County carried $18.4 million into 2025 in the general fund, equivalent to 52.3% of projected 2025 spending. Trimming back to $17.6 million still leaves six months’ operating expenses in place as a Rainy Day Fund for Ross County. ***Zero impact on County general fund current operations.

“People don’t pay taxes to pad government accounts. Where the County has a need, the Commissioners have done a good job taking care of our obligations,” Lehner said. “But when we’re talking about carrying seven or eight months’ worth of operating cash over from one year to the next, it’s clear that we’re taxing way too much. I don’t think that’s what people want to see and I hope the Commissioners agree this time around.”

Jeffers added: “This is a solid plan that we can afford. Tax relief is a great way to show the people of Ross County that we’re responsible with their money and continue to use it efficiently on their behalf. I look forward to working with Auditor Lehner and the Commissioners toward its implementation in the months ahead.”