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Union Terminal Tax on Ballot, Not Music Hall

Posted Wednesday, August 6th 2014 @ 2pm  by 700WLW News

( Hamilton County ) - By a vote of 2 to 1, Hamilton County Commissioners Wednesday agreed to put a sales tax increase on the ballot this November to only benefit Union Terminal.

There's been a campaign for months now to shore up money to repair both Union Terminal and Music Hall, but Commissioner Greg Hartmann, the swingvote, says he can't justify asking people in the county to pay for something that's a city issue. "At the end of the day, Music Hall is in a different position... Music Hall is not about to fall down, they have no financial relationship with the county..."

Several people at the commission meeting booed the vote. Commissioner Todd Portune voted against it. He had previously proposed a deal that would fund repairs to both Union Terminal and Music Hall.

Commissioner Hartmann says there is no plan b, either: "This is do or die. It's one of the reasons I think Commissioner Monzel and I agreed to put it on the ballot. This decision to be made by voters is a decision on whether to close Union Terminal or renovate it."

You can hear Commissioner Hartmann's entire interview with our own Bill Cunningham here.

The Mayor and members of City Council are not happy with the Commissioners' decision.  Mayor John Cranley says says there's been a "false debate" over the last few weeks that the City hasn't done enough, for the two buildings, or in the latest discussions.  He says that's simply not true.  Cranley says Cincinnatians are also residents of Hamilton County, and would be paying the sales tax, just like people in the suburbs.

PG Sittenfeld says elected leaders need to be held accountable.  He says one complaint over the original Icon Tax was that it had too many questions surrounding it, and hadn't been vetted.  Sittenfeld says what Commissioners passed had not been vetted.

Councilman Wendell Young says voters might not like paying more, but he's confident they'd want to save both buildings.  He says the right decision would have been to let the voters decide.

City Council members voted, 8-0, to fund renovations and repairs, to the tune of $10 million, at Music Hall and Union Terminal, despite the measure being dependent upon the Icon Tx passing for both, which failed.

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