Riverside sends income tax increase to November ballot

Riverside police are investigating an attempted carjacking and shooting that ended in crash that killed three juveniles on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Riverside police are investigating an attempted carjacking and shooting that ended in crash that killed three juveniles on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. MARSHALL GORBY / STAFF

Riverside is moving forward with putting an 1% income tax increase request on the November election ballot that would pay for police and fire operations.

City Council on Thursday voted to ask voters to increase the current 1.5% income tax to 2.5%.

Half of the revenue from the 1% increase would go to police and the other half of the revenue would go to fire.

The city says the income tax increase is needed due to costs to the city rising faster than income from taxes coming into the city. Health insurance costs alone are rising at nearly 11% per year, city officials noted earlier this year. A 1% increase is projected to bring the city’s revenues in line with rising costs.

Riverside currently does not have a tax credit for residents who work in another city. If the levy passes, the city council is proposing giving back the tax credit for people who work elsewhere.

ExploreRiverside proposing hike in city income tax to fund police and fire operations

Two citizens spoke out about the city’s proposed income tax increase at Thursday’s meeting. One woman said she worried the income tax increase, meant to go to police and fire, was simply a way to increase taxes while diverting funds.

Another Riverside resident, Freda Patterson, said she felt increasing taxes did not mean the city council could stop being careful with the general fund.

“I myself see a fire and police levy passing way faster than a 1% tax increase on income tax,” she said. “If a fire and police levy was to be put on the ballot and passed, I mean - the general fund still needs to be budgeted wisely.”

ExploreRenters see tight market, higher rents in Dayton region

Patterson said she also wanted to see transparency from the city and ensure residents are getting the 100% tax credit under the new tax law.

Interim city manager Chris Lohr said the revenue from reduced income tax credit that citizens currently pay has mostly gone to capital improvements, such as purchasing two new fire engines for the fire department.

“I know it’s has been controversial in the community but it’s definitely something that has been necessary for us to be able to continue day to day operations,” Lohr said of the reduction in income tax.

ExploreEnon man sentenced to 15 years in prison in death of Yellow Springs man

Lohr said he hoped the community would support the new tax as it would help transition the fire department from a mixed part-time, full-time department to a full-time department, something that current fire chief Dan Stitzel has said is necessary to keep firefighters from being overworked and would help with recruiting.

Stitzel said June was the busiest month in the history of the department.

About the Author