TROTWOOD — After Trotwood’s five-year, 0.5% income tax levy for road improvements was narrowly rejected Tuesday, city officials are reflecting on potential reasons behind the outcome.
“I think, based on the failure of the levy by a small margin, there is a direct correlation between some residents needing more information and/or education about the levy, as well as the component of inflation and the economy impacting their decision,” City Manager Quincy Pope said Wednesday.
Unofficial results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections show the levy was rejected with 51.8% of voters saying no to the levy, which would have generated around $1 million per year in additional revenue for the city.
Pope said based on the narrow outcome, there’s a strong possibility that the city may put another income tax request on the ballot soon.
“I do anticipate discussing with (Mayor Mary McDonald) and Trotwood City Council the opportunity to try again soon, maybe in November 2022,” he said.
The tax would have been imposed for a period of five years, and for someone with $50,000 in taxable income per year, the levy would cost an extra $250 annually. The tax would have applied to the earned income of those working within the city of Trotwood, including nonresidents who commute to the city for work.
Trotwood’s current local income tax rate is 2.25%, which generates about $4.7 million annually. An increase to 2.75%, and the resulting addition of $1 million in revenue per year, would have allowed the city to pave about 5.4 lane miles of road each year, city officials say.
Trotwood’s street budget for 2022 is $1.9 million, and Pope said the city will continue with its annual resurfacing program. However, he noted it will take longer to address some of the road maintenance needs throughout the community, specifically those in residential areas, which this levy was intended to provide funds for.
Deputy City Manager Stephanie Kellum, during her presentation of the levy proposal to council in January, said the city has applied for all applicable grant funding opportunities to address road improvements in neighborhoods.
“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.
When the motion to submit the request to voters was approved by a majority of council in January, Councilwoman Rhonda Finley, who abstained, had raised concerns regarding the tax increase, citing rising inflation and the goal for Trotwood to remain an appealing location for new businesses.
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