Moraine voters asked to keep income tax increase that generates $3.6M a year for the city

The city of Moraine is seeking to make an income tax increase permanent, with officials saying funds from the 0.5 percent hike help pay for basic services.

Issue 17 on the Nov. 6 ballot is asking for voter support to make permanent the five-year income tax hike that boosted Moraine’s rate to 2.5 percent four years ago.

The income tax increase brought in $3.7 million in 2017, about 20 percent of the city’s revenue, Moraine Finance Director Richard Sexton said.

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A passage of Issue 17 on Tuesday “would ensure the continued level of city revenue necessary to provide residents with needed police, fire, and EMS public safety services well into the future,” according to Moraine City Manager Bryan Chodkowski.

“In addition, it will continue to directly fund street lighting, residential trash collection, and the senior snow removal program,” he added. “Lastly, making the half percent income tax permanent will enable the city to continue to repair and maintain over 276 miles of roadway within the city.”

The tax hike supported by nearly 54 percent of Moraine voters in 2014 went into effect the following year and is set to expire at the end of 2019, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

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The increase costs a worker in Moraine earning $50,000 annually about $250 more a year, officials said.

Initially projected to boost the city’s annual revenue about $1.88 million a year, the presence of Fuyao Glass America Inc.’s more than 2,000 jobs and other businesses adding employees has more than doubled that figure, Moraine officials said.

Specific amounts generated for years 2015 and 2016 were $3.04 million, $3.61 million, respectively, with $.3.75 million projected for this year, according to the city.

The city has spent more than $1.52 million toward improving police, fire and EMS services with Moraine’s dispatch center now being upgraded with new radios and computer-aided dispatching software, city officials said.

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Additionally, the police division has bought 12 new cruisers since 2015 while the fire division has two new ambulances, according to the city.

The city’s streets have also benefited, city officials said. More than $2.4 million from the tax hike has been spent for more than 14 miles of road improvements, and the street division has replaced several pieces of equipment, improving snow and debris removal in the process.

If Issue 17 is not approved, according to Chodkowski, “the city would have to significantly reduce capital spending and eliminate funding to certain services” such as trash collection, street lighting and sidewalk repair.

“Passage of the permanent increase will ensure current levels of services are maintained and that the city’s capital spending on needed items is continued,” he said.

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