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

Four of the five candidates for Middletown City Council who attended a Candidates Forum on Tuesday said they would not support an income tax increase proposal that would earmark a percentage for street paving and improvements.

Incumbent Dora Bronston and challengers Mark Barker, Joe Mulligan and Ami Vitori participated in the forum sponsored by The Chamber of Commerce Serving Middletown, Monroe and Trenton. Roy Gordon, who is making his second attempt to win a council seat, did not attend.

“I’m not in favor of more taxes,” Barker said. “That’s an easy no for me.” A former College Corner school board member, he said a budget is a framework for government spending.

Mulligan, who previously served on council from 2011 to 2015 as well as ran for state representative in 2016, said he would not be in favor of such a proposal.

He said he supports a five-year sustainable budget that gets back to the basic core services for residents and with an eye to increasing the average household income to what it is for Butler County and Ohio. Mulligan said by doing that, the city could see between $6 million to $8 million in additional tax revenues.

Bronston said she would not be in favor of more taxes on residents, saying that new economic development projects such as the NTE Energy Station and the new Kettering Health Network outpatient facility under construction (and are slated to be completed in 2018) will help grow the tax base and the number of jobs in the city. She said there were a number of projects that are being considered but could not be shared publicly.

“I don’t agree with tax increases,” Vitori said.

She said the best way to increase tax revenues is to do it organically and said City Manager Doug Adkins’ plan helps to do this.

“We need to set priorities over the next five years,” she said.

All of the candidates said they want to help the city to improve its image and to help create positive growth.

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