Key Investments in the Hamilton County Mayor’s Budget


Almost $1 billion. $995,201,026 is the proposed Hamilton County budget before the County Commission. Considering the almost 13% increase in spending, curiosity abounds to understand the level of spending when families are being forced to make tough decisions with their own money at home.

Let’s take a look at the balanced budget that records increased monies paid into the county treasury by taxpayers as “revenues” and those same monies of taxpayers spent itemized as “expenditures.”

First, the spending for Mayor Weston Wamp’s first budget increases from last year by 12.9% for the fiscal year which runs through June 2024. This increase is compared to the increases of 1.7% for 2017-18, 5.2% in 2018-19, 5.3% in 2019-20, 0.3 % in 2020-21, 4.6% in 2021-22, 5.8% in 2022-23, but seen in the aggregate as a total increase of the spending in Hamilton County by 35.8% in seven years.

The only point on the increase in spending is pretty simple. Men and women have likely experienced the greatest universal tax on their wages seen in the lifetimes of many, due to the inflation that is actually recessionary in nature. The cost of everything is greater. The reality is that government has no money. Men and women primarily through property taxes, along with other intergovernmental transfers, also coming from their tax dollars, fund the operations of government.

This makes the priority of essential services that impact the largest number of citizens critical to see a good yield of return on their investment.

It’s just the math.

Second, the priority of public education is proven by Mayor Weston Wamp’s budget, just as those budgets of Mayor Jim Coppinger demonstrated. The Hamilton County Public Schools received the following allocations as a percent of the total budget in the corresponding budget years: 62% in 2017-18; 58% in 2018-19; 60% in 2019-20; over 59% in 2020-21; over 59% in 2021-22; over 59% in 2022-23; and the proposed 62% in 2023-24.

The enrollment of the Hamilton County Public Schools has increased from 43,961 in 2017-2018 to 45,121 for 2023, with the County’s allocation of dollars increasing from $425,770,340 to $621,573,403. The math reveals that spending per pupil has increased from $9,685 to $13,776 over the same time period.

It’s factually untrue to hear the rhetoric that students are not prioritized as an investment in Hamilton County.

Other notable uses of taxpayers’ dollars are for capital improvements to existing buildings, furnishings, a senior center in the repurposed Harrison Elementary School, the area’s volunteer fire departments, road improvements, pay raises, and a property tax relief match for fully disabled veterans and low-income seniors. The cost of everything has increased, even government. As we see our area grow, the hopes and expectations are to see value result from investments of the hardworking taxpayers’ monies into the essential services needed for thriving, safe communities.  It’s just the math.