Middletown tables proposed $5 license plate fee increase for more review

Fire Lt. Pawel Mieczykowski, center, receives his new badge from his wife as his four children, left, and Fire Chief Paul Lolli, right, look on. The pinning ceremony was held during Tuesday’s Middletown City Council meeting. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Caption
Fire Lt. Pawel Mieczykowski, center, receives his new badge from his wife as his four children, left, and Fire Chief Paul Lolli, right, look on. The pinning ceremony was held during Tuesday’s Middletown City Council meeting. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Middletown residents may not see an increase in their vehicle registration taxes— at least not yet.

Last week, City Council pulled a proposed $5 increase in the local permissive tax from its agenda at the request of several council members who wanted to review other options and alternatives in a more comprehensive manner in raising additional funds for road and street paving.

Ohio law allows cities and villages to have a permissive tax of up to $10 collected with the annual purchase of license plates. Middletown currently collects $5 which generates about $235,000 a year.

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The council members said they wanted more research done by staff that could be reviewed as possible alternatives and discuss them at a future work-session, according to Susan Cohen, acting city manager. She said the issue would be revisited at council’s April 7 meeting.

Those options could also include a possible road tax levy on the ballot.

Two years ago, former mayor Larry Mulligan advocated an income tax increase of 0.25 percent for 10 years that would have raised about $3.2 million for road improvements. However, placing on the November 2018 general election ballot required a super-majority of council members to get it on the ballot. Mulligan pulled the proposal off the council meeting agenda as he did not have the council support he needed.

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Council had scheduled the proposed increase, which had a two-year sunset, for a second reading and vote at its Tuesday meeting but had it tabled. Had the proposed increase been approved, it would have gone into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Residents currently pay $56 to renew their plates each year, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This does not include the additional costs for vanity and personalized plates.

Council has indicated that street paving is a priority and that the additional revenue would go toward improvements for planning, constructing, reconstructing, improving, maintaining and repairing city streets and roadways. The revenues would also go for improvements to bridges, street lights, signage and pavement markings.

FIRE LIEUTENANT PINNED

Fire Lt. Pawel Mieczykowski received his new badge from his wife during a pinning ceremony during the council meeting.

He was promoted to replace Fire Lt. Tate Cobb who recently retired. Mieczykowski, 51, has 22 years of firefighter/paramedic experience, the last 13 in Middletown. His son Michael, 24, is also a firefighter/paramedic for the Middletown Division of Fire.

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The elder Mieczykowski also competes in Firefighter Challenges. The challenge is an intensive, timed agility course that requires firefighters to perform a number of tasks wearing full turnout gear, including masks and self-contained breathing apparatus tanks.

A native of Poland and a father of four, Mieczykowski he came to the U.S. about 30 years ago. 2006.

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NEW VEHICLES FOR DETECTIVES

Council approved the purchase of four new Ford Fusion at a cost of $20,544 each for a total of $82,176 off the Ohio Department of Administrative Services contract from Middletown Ford. Because they are on the state contract, bidding is not necessary.

Funds have been appropriated in the 2020 budget for this purchase, city officials said.

The four vehicles being replaced have met the city’s 15-point replacement schedule and are between 58 and 72-months past the replacement date. The vehicles, a 2005 Ford Taurus, a 2008 Chevrolet Impala, and two 2010 Dodge Chargers will be sold through GovDeals.

ROSEDALE ROAD WATER MAIN

Council approved a contract with Howell Contractors Inc. to proceed with the Rosedale Road Water Main replacement project.

The project will replace the water main on Rosedale Road between Breiel Boulevard and Thorn Hill Lane. This section has served it’s useful life and routinely develops leaks which require costly repairs. The roadway will also be resurfaced as part of the project.

Eight contractors submitted a bid for the project. Howell Contractors, Inc. submitted the lowest and best bid on Feb. 5 for $1.168 million which was 23 percent lower than the engineer’s estimate and 8 percent lower than the next bidder.

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