Monroe voters to consider income tax hike for new police facility

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Monroe voters to consider income tax hike for new police facility

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Monroe Senior Dispatcher Dan Rose, along with dispatchers in training, Amanda Pike and Kennedy Bowman, work in the Communications room at the Monroe police department in 2016. Monroe is having a study done to look at their public safety facilities and what new facilities options they may have. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Monroe voters may see a 0.50 percent income/earnings tax increase this fall that would raise $2.2 million in which would go for safety services and capital improvement projects.

However, City Council is opting for a proposal made several weeks ago by Vice Mayor Suzi Rubin provides a 0.50 income/earnings tax credit for residents because they already pay city income taxes and mandates 0.35 percent will go for public safety spending and the remaining 0.15 percent would go for capital improvements and infrastructure projects.

If voters should approve this proposal, it would raise Monroe’s income/earnings tax from 1.5 percent to 2 percent.

Council members Tuesday agreed Rubin’s proposal would be the best option and will formally approve placing the tax request on the ballot in the coming weeks. They say this would put the burden on those who use city services the most and not on the residents who are already paying taxes.

In a previous presentation, City Manager Bill Brock said calls for service have gone from 1,956 fire runs and 11,996 police calls for service in 2005 to 2,835 fire runs and 24,4662 police calls for service in 2016. Most of these calls are in the business and commercial areas around the Interstate 75/Ohio 63 interchange.

For the past several months, city officials have been discussing several options to raise about $1.6 million revenues to cover increasing costs for safety services and to build a new police facility. The current facilities are cramped for the growing police department.

Council had initially looked at various options such as a 0.25-percent income tax increase that would go for safety services; or placing a replacement property tax of up to 5 mills for safety services or between $87.50 to $175 a year per homeowner; or reducing the reciprocity for residents who work and pay in other cities which would have cost an average resident about $700 a year.

Rubin’s proposal gained traction with council members because it provided the funding needed for safety service and additional revenues for capital project and infrastructure needs while giving residents the tax credit.

“This would be an earnings tax for those who work and shop in the city in areas where most of the emergency services calls are coming from,” she said.

Councilman Dan Clark said he is “a big supporter” of Rubin’s proposal.

“It’s (the proposed tax) being paid by those who use the services,” he said. “Business growth should pay (for the additional services provided)…. It’s an earnings tax.”

Clark said the tax credit is fair and that it won’t affect elderly residents.

“This affects a small percentage of Monroe residents,” he said. “I support the plan. I think it’s a good plan for Monroe.”

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