Middletown considers income tax hike to pay for road repairs

Middletown City Council has said road paving is among the top priorities for the 2018 city budget. Middletown City Council will consider raising the city’s income tax by 0.25 percent for 10 years to help pay for street repairs. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Middletown City Council has said road paving is among the top priorities for the 2018 city budget. Middletown City Council will consider raising the city’s income tax by 0.25 percent for 10 years to help pay for street repairs. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Middletown City Council will consider raising the city’s income tax by 0.25 percent for 10 years to help pay for street repairs.

Council’s two newest members are on record as saying they would not be in favor of such a tax increase.

MORE: Middletown council member proposes tax increase to fix streets

During a candidate’s forum prior to the November 2017 general election, both Ami Vitori and Joe Mulligan said they would not support a tax increase to fund road fixes.

Vitori told the Journal-News today that her position has not changed since the October forum.

“I keep my campaign promises,” she said.

While there could be a time and place down the road for such a tax increase, she said “now isn’t the right time.”

Joe Mulligan could not be reached for comment today.

Explore MORE: Middletown council candidates: Road fixes shouldn’t be made by tax hike

Council is scheduled to hear a first reading tonight and have a second reading and approve the ordinance as an emergency measure on Aug. 7 so that the city can meet the Aug. 8 deadline to place issues on the November ballot.

Four of council’s five members would have to agree to placing the measure on the ballot, according to city officials.

If council approves, the measure would be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. If approved by voters in November, the city’s income tax would be raised from 1.75 percent to 2 percent and would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Two weeks ago, Mayor Larry Mulligan proposed that legislation be prepared to place such a levy on the ballot that would and would accelerate the city’s current efforts and use those additional revenues to issue bonds and notes for this purpose. Larry Mulligan said the condition of city streets and roads is the top concern and complaint raised by many residents.

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.

City Manager Doug Adkins has previously said it would cost $160 million to repair the city’s 621 miles of pavement.

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.

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.

Middletown City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. today, July 17, at the Middletown City Building, 1 Donham Plaza.

— — —

PAVING PROGRAM BEGINS THIS MONTH

Middletown’s annual paving program begins this month. This year’s paving program will include:

  • South Breiel Boulevard from Lefferson Road to Oxford State Road
  • South Main Street from 18th Avenue to the city limits
  • Goldman Avenue from Orchard Street to Highland Street
  • Lewis Street from Jackson Lane to Eaton Avenue
  • Marshall Road from Manchester Road to Riverview Drive
  • Park Lane – all

According to city officials, contractors will perform this work for a total cost of nearly $2.27 million.

In addition, Middletown will spend about $150,000 for city crews to pave the following streets and alleys:

  • Minnesota Street from 10th Avenue to 14th Avenue
  • Shelly Street – all
  • Boylston Street from Victoria Drive to Holly Avenue

Alley paving will include:

  • Sherman Avenue to Grand Avenue between The Alameda and Stanley Street
  • Panama Avenue to Verity Parkway between Elwood Street and Hughes Street
  • Verity Parkway (Canal Street) to Broad Street Parking Lot Access behind the 1100 block of Central Avenue.

SOURCE: Middletown City Manager’s Office

In Other News