West Carrollton may vote in May on keeping income tax hike

West Carrollton City Council is considering in May asking voters to approve a continuing income tax hike. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

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West Carrollton City Council is considering in May asking voters to approve a continuing income tax hike. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

A request to keep an income tax increase appears to be heading for the May ballot in West Carrollton.

Records show the May 2 election is the consensus choice by West Carrollton City Council to continue what is now a five-year, 0.25 percent income tax hike that will expire in 2018.

Voter approval this spring would maintain the 2.25 percent rate favored on the ballot in 2013, according to West Carrollton Mayor Jeff Sanner.

“We are asking the voters to make it a permanent tax and not one we need to renew every five years,” he stated in an email. “There is no doubt in my mind that we will need this as permanent tax (in light) of the state reducing our local government fund.”

Officials said late last year they would likely seek a permanent rate of 2.25 percent to supplement revenue losses due to state action. Placing it on the spring ballot would give West Carrollton more than one opportunity for passage this year, according to Sanner.

“Asking for the citizens support in May will allow us enough time to go back to the voters if we are not successful,” he said.

West Carrollton has lost more than $1 million annually in funding due to state action and is projecting future general fund deficits, according to the city.

The 0.25 percent tax hike generates about $600,000 annually for the general fund, said West Carrollton Finance Director Tom Reilly. It would help soften the blow of losing more than $1 million annually in funding due to state action, according to the city.

Ohio’s House Bill 5, passed in 2015, has already cost the city about $100,000. When fully implemented, it will reduce city revenue by about $400,000 annually, according to the city.

HB 69 put guidelines on cities’ red-light cameras that did not make it cost effective to operate West Carrollton’s program, City Manager Brad Townsend has said, removing another $125,000 of revenue from the city.

Other past state funding reductions include the elimination of the estate tax, public utility tax reimbursements, and tangible personal property tax reimbursements, according to the city.

Among the cuts West Carrollton has made is eliminating its safety dispatch center and contracting with Centerville for that city's services.

The issue is not part of tonight’s city council agenda. But to have the request placed on the May 2 ballot, the city would need to approve issue by Jan. 24, according to Townsend

The deadline to file issues for the spring ballot is Feb. 1, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

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