Trotwood voters to again decide on income tax increase for road improvements

The five-year income tax increase would fund re-pavement efforts.

TROTWOOD — Trotwood voters will again be asked in the Nov. 8 election to approve a five-year, 0.5% income tax that would generate money for road improvements.

The tax request, which would generate around $1 million per year in additional revenue for the city, was first placed on the ballot in May and was narrowly rejected, with 51.8% of voters saying no.

The tax would be 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 apply to the earned income of those working within the city of Trotwood, including nonresidents who commute to the city for work.

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Trotwood’s current local income tax rate is 2.25%, which generated roughly $5.2 million in 2021, according to Deputy City Manager Stephanie Kellum.

An increase to 2.75%, and the resulting addition of $1 million in revenue per year, would allow the city to pave about 5.4 lane miles of road each year, city officials say, though Kellum noted the exact amount would vary depending on the price of asphalt and road conditions.

A Dayton Daily News reporter on Thursday spoke with multiple Trotwood residents who said they don’t know enough details about the levy to have an opinion for or against the implementation of the new tax.

This is an issue City Manager Quincy Pope said may have, at least in part, lead to the close outcome in May.

“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,” Pope said following the vote.

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One resident, who declined to give her name, said while she does plan to vote on Nov. 8, she feels she is not adequately informed on the income tax levy issue. “I don’t think (the city) is reaching their target audience,” she said.

Kellum said Thursday the city had opted to post information about the levy request in its quarterly newsletter, which is available on the city’s website, as opposed to holding in-person events to spread the word.

“We did not hold any informational meetings for fear that it would seem we were just pushing (voters) to say yes,” Kellum said. “Those citizens who have seen roads re-paved have realized the benefits of that investment within the community, so we’re putting that option out for the city to decide.”

If approved, the city will use the additional income tax revenue to improve streets and infrastructure, specifically within the city’s residential neighborhoods.

According to Kellum, the city conducted a Pavement Condition Rating (PCR) study in 2017, which found that nearly 280 of Trotwood’s 411 total lane miles of roads fall under the category of “poor to fair.” Kellum said another PCR study will be completed within the next year or two and will give a more updated status of road conditions.

“Any roads on that (poor to fair) list can meet the definition of ‘priority,’ but budget would determine which roads we could get to in any given year,” she said.

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