CINCINNATI (February 5, 2018) – Friends of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, including Zoo employees, members, and representatives from Hamilton County businesses and communities, gathered and spoke at the Hamilton County Board of Elections on Thursday, February 1, 2018, to show support for a tax levy renewal with a modest inflationary increase. The public hearing was the Zoo’s final opportunity to convince Hamilton County Commissioners, Denise Driehaus, Chris Monzel and Todd Portune, to put the levy on the May ballot with an increase that would amount to about 30 cents more per month for a $100,000 home owner.

“We have the most dedicated, generous, and enthusiastic community of any Zoo I know, and our friends showed up at the hearing to support us,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “In order to continue to be the awesome zoo we are, a small increase in our levy is necessary this year.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer agrees, stating in an editorial published yesterday that, “Not only do we think the zoo levy should be on the May 8 ballot, but it should appear with the increase requested.” They editorial board also stated that the Zoo is a bargain and recommended that the Commissioners allow voters to decide to give the Zoo an increase or not.

Levy funds are used for veterinary care, food, building and grounds and maintenance and only represent 17% of the Zoo’s operating costs.  New habitats are funded by private and corporate donations, not taxpayer money.  Additional funds are needed in order to keep up with rising standards of animal care and aging infrastructure.

The Commissioners have until this Wednesday, February 7, to decide what they will put on the ballot.  For more information visit friendsofthecincinnatizoo.org