Huber Heights to vote again on income tax renewal for police, fire, EMS service

Voters rejected extension of 0.25% tax by very narrow margin in May; tax doesn’t expire until 2025, but city would make cuts in 2024 if it fails again

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

HUBER HEIGHTS — For the second time this year, the city of Huber Heights is asking voters to approve the renewal of an existing 10-year earned income tax that has supported the operation of emergency services since its passage in 2014.

The same measure was narrowly rejected during the May primary, with 50.4% voting no, and 49.6% voting yes. Early voting for the Nov. 7 general election has begun at county board of elections offices and will continue through Nov. 5.

The 10-year, 0.25% earned income tax levy has funded fire, police, and emergency medical services since its implementation. Though the levy isn’t due to expire until Dec. 31, 2024, city officials said they want to stay ahead of the game in the event that the measure again fails to pass.

“(This) gives the city time to develop the appropriate plan on how to best deliver public safety services,” said City Manager Richard Dzik.

Unless a renewal is approved, the last day of collection on the levy will be tax day, April 15, 2025. How soon levy funds would ultimately be depleted is less certain, Dzik said.

“This is a difficult question to answer,” he said. “It depends on a number of factors, such as how much revenue the city is able to save toward public safety needs in 2024, maintenance and other expenses in the department throughout 2024 and 2025, and any other cost-cutting measures the city can identify.”

While the city does have “plan B” options that can be considered, nearly all of these include cuts to recreational and entertainment amenities in order to continue providing the most basic functions of police and fire service, officials say.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Initial plans to implement in the event of a failed renewal include stopping all capital funding to parks, closure of the Kroger Aquatic Center & Splash Pad, removal of many aspects of parks maintenance, and transfer of all Rose Music Center proceeds to the police and fire funds.

If the levy is rejected, “The city would begin these cost-cutting measures in January 2024 in order to build a fund balance for public safety while the revenues are still available,” Dzik said.

For someone earning $50,000 in taxable income per year, the levy would continue to cost $125 per year.

Besides the tax levy currently in question, the city has an identical 0.25% earned income tax measure that is due to expire on Dec. 31, 2025. That means regardless of the outcome in November, Huber Heights residents may see other income tax renewal levy requests in upcoming years.

About the Author