Hamilton tonight seeks input on taxes, bees and historic areas

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Tonight’s the best time to be heard for people who have opinions on whether Hamilton income taxes should be increased by 1 percent for residents who work outside the city.

The city will hold a public hearing during its regular 6 p.m. meeting on the proposed tax increase, which will raise an estimated $1.5 million per year. Officials say the tax is needed for two reasons: About half will go toward street improvements, with the other half going to public-safety equipment and operating expenses.

Hamilton’s income-tax rate is 2 percent, but the city since at least 1995 has granted a 100 percent credit for income taxes that residents pay in the cities where they work. Under the proposed increase, which would take effect Jan. 1, that credit would drop to 50 percent.

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Here are examples of how much a person’s taxes would increase, depending on the place that person works:, if the person is earning $50,000 per year:

  • A worker in Fairfield would pay $625 next year, up from $250 now;
  • Someone working in Middletown would pay $562.50, up from $125 now; and
  • A Hamilton resident working in Cincinnati (2.1 percent tax rate), Oxford (2.0 rate) or the Hamilton/Indian Springs Joint Economic Development District now pays nothing to Hamilton but would pay $500 a year starting in 2019.
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Public hearings also will be held tonight on two other subjects: New regulations that would allow people to keep bee hives within city limits; and whether the city should change a requirement for a member of the the city’s Architectural Design Review Board (ADRB).

Hamilton City Clerk Nick Garuckas said public hearings are required for the bee and ADRB matters, but not for the income-tax increase.

“The income-tax hearing is not required for council to have,” Garuckas said. “But they thought it would be worthwhile to have that public conversation.”

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“City Council just wants to be very transparent,” he said, “and they want to make sure that conversation is had, and they feel that’s the appropriate avenue to do so.”

“Any time that the Hamilton Zoning Code is proposed to be changed, there must be public hearings,” Garuckas said.

Initially, part of the street money will be used to improve traffic flow to the proposed Spooky Nook at Champion Mill indoor sports complex along North B Street.

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With the ADRB qualification change, the city is considering changing the board architect position. Currently, the person is required to be a private licensed architect. Under the proposed change, the person could have equivalent education.


WHAT: Public hearing

WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Hamilton City Council Chambers, 345 High St.