Trotwood council puts income tax proposal on May ballot

Voters will decide whether to increase tax from 2.25% to 2.75% to pay for roadwork.

Trotwood City Council voted Tuesday night to put a five-year, 0.5% income tax increase for road improvements on the primary election ballot.

Voters will have the final say at the polls May 3.

The city’s current local income tax rate is 2.25%. If the increase is approved, the tax would generate an additional $1,001,070 annually, according to Deputy City Manager Stephanie Kellum, who presented details to city council on Tuesday.

The tax would be imposed for a period of five years, beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and ending Dec. 31, 2027.

City Manager Quincy Pope said the additional revenue would go toward road improvements in areas of need around the city.

“We are the second-largest city in the Montgomery County area, with 411 lane miles, and we just need a little bit more to help us get into our neighborhoods … improving our streets and our infrastructure there, so we’re asking to place this before voters to allow them the opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to move forward with our plan of addressing the neighborhood streets,” Pope said.

The city has applied for all applicable grant funding opportunities to address road improvements, Kellum said.

“Grant funding is only available for those main arterial roads like Free Pike and Denlinger; grant funding is not available for the neighborhood streets,” she said.

According to city documents, the revenue provided by the additional tax would be used for a long list of road-related projects — installation and/or improvements of street paving and roadways, curbs and gutters, pavement milling and striping, crosswalks, traffic signals, Americans with Disabilities Act -compliant ramps, street signage, water management resources, grading, and safety equipment.

The motion to submit the request to voters was approved by a majority of council Tuesday, with Councilwoman Rhonda Finley abstaining.

Prior to the vote, Finley raised concerns regarding the tax increase, citing rising inflation and the goal for Trotwood to remain an appealing location for new businesses.

“I just don’t think it’s the right time based on the raging inflation,” she said. “I want to make Trotwood competitive, and I don’t think raising taxes is the right way to continue to (do that).”

Finley also cited the $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill signed into law by President Joe Biden in November, suggesting that could provide money for local road improvements.

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