Playground at Bell Creek Intermediate
How Do Tax Rates In The District Compare With Other Local Areas?
The most striking difference between Bellbrook and the majority of cities in Ohio is that it does not have an income tax. 243 of Ohio’s 247 cities, defined as a municipality with a population greater than 5,000, have an income tax. That makes Bellbrook one of only four cities that doesn’t. The other three are Beavercreek, Jackson, and Cortland. While this makes the city pretty unique, it also creates a situation where property taxes are the local government’s only income source.
So how does a property-tax-only city compare to other local communities when it comes to overall taxation? We were trying to come up with a way to run these comparisons when we discovered that someone else already had. The city of Beavercreek. In 2018, they took the time and effort to track down and compare overall taxes for 24 nearby cities and villages (municipalities with less than 5,000). Bellbrook was among those compared.
Their 2018 data showed that of the municipalities looked at, Bellbrook actually had the lowest overall taxes. That does not mean that Bellbrook’s taxes are lower than any other local municipality. They’re just lower than the 23 other locations Beavercreek used for their comparison, including themselves.
Here's that same data in an easier to follow chart:
If you strip away all the other types of taxes and just compare the property taxes collected for the same 24 communities, Bellbrook is no longer the lowest. This was not surprising to learn. What was more of a shock was that Bellbrook came in 8th cheapest of 24. That means that 16 of the municipalities had even higher property taxes than Bellbrook, on top of having an income tax as well.
The following chart was assembled using Mr. Graham's slides from his Feb. 3, 2020 presentation. That's why Beavercreek's millage is higher in the chart below than it is in the one above. Their most recent levy had not been passed when they put together their chart.
It is also worth noting that in many cases, property millage does correlate with population. BSS has an estimated K-12 headcount this year of 2,725, higher than the entire population of some of these areas. The smaller the population the lower the millage rate, on average. Fewer people require fewer community services and so need less funding.
This is not always the case, but it is definitely part of the equation. How fast these communities are expanding will also play a role. These population numbers are based on the 2010 census and so are most likely lower across the board than they are today. We'll make sure to look at this chart again once the 2020 census is complete, so we can compare population growth to millage rates.
To reinforce what Beavercreek put together, this recent article on Wallet Hub discusses the best and worst places to raise a family in Ohio. Their list appears to be of cities with higher populations than Bellbrook, so Bellbrook was not one they compared, but Beavercreek was. What they found was that Beavercreek was the 3rd most affordable city to live in. Bellbrook's taxes are LOWER than Beavercreek's. Consequently, chances are high that if Bellbrook had been included in this report, it would have ranked as one of the more affordable places to live as well.