Middletown council member proposes tax increase to fix streets

Middletown voters might see a ballot request to increase the city’s income tax to provide additional funds for street improvements.

Mayor Larry Mulligan has suggested that Middletown City Council consider placing a 0.25 percent income tax increase for 10 years and having the revenues from the increase be earmarked for street and road improvements.

Mulligan made his suggestion during Tuesday’s council meeting as part of his comments.

“It’s something I hear from a lot of folks out there that there is a general concern about road conditions,” he said. “We certainly want to address that the best we can.”

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On Monday, he sent an email to City Manager Doug Adkins and council members.

In his email to council, Mulligan asked if a portion of those additional revenues could be leveraged to issue bonds for street improvements.

Mulligan said there is a need to find a mechanism to provide more revenues into the streets even though the city has a good 30-year plan.

If council agrees, it would have to approve an ordinance in the next few weeks to meet the Aug. 8 deadline to place a tax issue on the ballot.

According to city Finance Director Jacob Burton, a 0.25-percent income tax increase would bring in an additional $3.2 million a year for street improvements, or about $32 million over a 10-year period.

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Scott Tadych, public works and utilities director, said the city spends about $600,000 annually from its local revenues on road projects. This does not include the grant funding the city receives from the state for larger infrastructure projects.

Adkins said it would cost $160 million to repair the city’s road and street network.

According to a pavement management report issued in January, the city maintains 219 center line miles which equates to 621 lane miles of pavement. In the latest Pavement Condition Index, the average condition of city streets was 54 on a scale of zero to 100 with zero being the worst. That score rated Middletown’s street network as fair.

The Charter Review Committee looked at a proposed amendment to require a portion of income tax revenues to be dedicated for street and capital improvements, but did not recommend that to council.

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