Middletown income tax increase passing with strong support

The city of Middletown income tax increase issue held strong support with all precincts reporting in Butler and Warren counties.

The 10-year, 0.25% income tax increase for Middletown street and road repairs held a 57% to 43% advantage between Butler County and Warren County voters late Tuesday night. The income tax would rise from 1.75% to 2%.

These results are expected to change as more ballots are counted through Nov. 18. We will continue to update these results as more ballots are counted.

The additional 0.25% would generate about $3.13 million a year to leverage a bond issue for a massive $31.3 million comprehensive street improvement/paving project in 2021 and 2022, paving about 137 lane miles of streets. Officials had stressed the community benefit for the income tax increase, which would be the city’s first since 2007.

The city will spend more than $4.2 million in paving this year. Between 2016 and 2020, the city paved 60 lane miles for $9.7 million.

In 2021, the city is planning to spend more than $3.9 million for street paving and repairs from grant and enterprise funds, state grants, assessments for sidewalks, curbs and gutters and the city’s auto and gas tax allocation. If the bond issue is approved, the $31.3 million would be added to what the city is spending for paving.

The city maintains more than 621 lane miles of roadway, and 59% are rated as being in excellent, good or fair condition, according the latest Pavement Condition Index last done in 2017. The remaining 41% are rated as being in poor, very poor or failed conditions, according to Scott Tadych, city public works and utilities director.

The city evaluates streets and roads biannually, and Tadych is hoping to pave another 126 lane miles over the next five years. If the income tax increase is approved, that could go up to 200 lane miles of paving over that time.

The city’s first income tax, 1.5%, was approved by voters in 1969. In 2007, voters approved a 0.25% income tax increase that was dedicated for public safety expenditures, raising the city’s income tax to 1.75%. That 0.25% increase was made permanent in 2012.

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