I read a book called “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. A few years ago I gave this book to my Navy Seal leadership team at Renew Community Church. I have encouraged my team, as a team, to find only “one thing” in our organization that can accomplish being a blessing to others.
I was reminded of this book when I was unanimously named Hamilton County Treasurer by the Hamilton County Republican Party Executive Committee on February 20 to serve the unexpired term of former County Treasurer Robert Goering through September 6.
So I asked myself and my great team, Hamilton County’s Assistant Treasurer Mike Lonneman, and Information Technology Director Glenn Lindmark, “What can we do to make Hamilton County’s life better?”
In that process, we found that approximately 4,300 homeowners and business owners in Hamilton County – especially seniors – struggled to pay their property taxes during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have told my team that we must do everything in our power to help these property owners weather the pandemic and avoid possible foreclosures.
As a county treasurer, I immediately implemented my second chance property tax payment plan for Hamilton County. My co-workers – one of the best in the world – were busy helping me execute the plan. You have gone above and beyond and to date have included more than 870 property taxpayers in new payment plan agreements with my office. These homeowners and businesses have deposited around $ 2.8 million in arrears in taxes. However, some property owners have enlisted financial assistance from the Legal Aid Society, Working in Neighborhoods (WIN), and the Hamilton County Action Agency. In a few years’ time, these payments will raise nearly $ 10.6 million to support our school districts, public library, park districts, senior services, zoological park, health and hospital care, and other services.
My second chance property tax relief plan is still under my direction for two months and we expect to serve many more seniors, homeowners and business owners. According to a research report from a telephone poll conducted June 12-14 by Clout Research, 90% of citizens support our plan.
I and my employees couldn’t have done it alone. I am grateful for the support of the Hamilton County media in helping this initiative become known.
I also thank Mark Lawson, President and CEO of the Community Action Agency; S. Barbara Busch, Managing Director of Works in Neighborhoods; and Stephanie Moes, executive attorney with the Legal Aid Society. Your excellent partnership with us has helped so many seniors and homeowners by providing both mortgage and property tax financing.
We’d also like to thank Lamar Advertising for helping start this initiative by providing more than 20 billboards across Hamilton County and encouraging defaulting property owners to contact the Hamilton County Treasurer’s office for help.
In conclusion, I call on every Enquirer reader, if you or someone you know is a homeowner in need of mortgage or property tax financing, please contact our partner, the Community Action Agency, to see if you qualify . Call them at 513-569-1840 and press 4.
I have a few more months to go as your treasurer, and the “one thing” I want to do is continue to serve you. Remember I work for you!
Charlie Winburn is the Treasurer of Hamilton County, a former Cincinnati City Councilor and a resident of Mt. Airy.