Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Let the voters choose for themselves

It’s budget time again for Wilmington City Council.
Council members are pondering ways to bring about a balanced 2015 budget in the face of dwindling outside revenue and the increasing service needs of the city.
The days when some conservative members rightly claimed the city had a spending problem are past, and the revenue problem comes to the forefront.
A discussion of revenue loss, over and above the major decreases caused by DHL, must include actions by the state government:

Revenue sharing of the state taxes payed by Wilmington folks has deceased by nearly 50 percent;
Elimination of personal property taxes with no compensating distribution of the replacement CAT tax;
Elimination of estate taxes;
No sharing of casino and racino taxes with non-host cities.

There has been an uptick in city earnings tax revenue, but it is now, and in the near term, insufficient to compensate for the loss of other revenue.
In the final analysis, there is insufficient revenue in a balanced budget to provide for long-delayed employee compensation and the primary problem of adequate services.
Our streets are deteriorating at a rapid rate and will get even worse due to neglect.
The mayor suggests an earnings tax increase of a million dollars per year to fill the void, but in my considered opinion, that’s too heavy a lift for the voters to approve and places the burden on a limited percentage of the population.
The earnings tax excludes many, if not most senior citizens, the very people who most depend on city services.
My often-suggested option would be to allow voters to chose for themselves whether or not pass a five year, 2 mill property tax levy for street maintenance and repair.
Council should not publicly be pro- or anti-passage, but rather give the voters the choice.
After all, we residents have some responsibility for our town’s condition.
The levy would generate around $500,000 per year, and would cost the $100,000 home owner around $7 per month.
Most senior citizen home owners would pay less than $5.
All residents would contribute to this revenue directly or indirectly via rent, workplace or place of business.
If the reader has an opinion on this subject, let the city know all about it.
Call 937-382-5458 or email atacoronte@ci.wlmington.oh.us.

Paul Hunter paulhunter45177@gmail.com

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