Monroe income tax increase: 3 things you need to know

Monroe City Council approved placing a 0.5 percent income/earnings tax increase on the Nov. 7 general election ballot for safety services and infrastructure improvements. STAFF FILE PHOTO
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Monroe City Council approved placing a 0.5 percent income/earnings tax increase on the Nov. 7 general election ballot for safety services and infrastructure improvements. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Monroe City Council approved Tuesday placing a levy to raise the city’s income/earnings tax by 0.5 percent on November’s ballot.

If approved by voters on Nov. 7, the funds would be earmarked for public safety services and capital improvement projects.

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Here’s what you need to know about the possible increase in Monroe’s income/earnings tax from 1.5 percent to 2 percent:

1. Increase includes tax credit for residents

Council members said the proposed tax increase puts the burden on nonresidents who use city services the most and not on residents who already pay property taxes.

The tax increase request also provides a 0.5 percent income tax credit for Monroe residents.

2. Funds will benefit safety services, roads and parks

Revenues from the possible income/earnings tax increase earmarks 0.35 percent for public safety services and the remaining 0.15 percent for capital improvements and infrastructure projects such as roads and parks.

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For the past several months, city officials have been discussing several options to raise about $1.6 million revenues to cover increasing costs for safety services and to build a new police facility. The current facilities are cramped for the growing police department.

Council had initially looked at various options such as a 0.25-percent income tax increase that would go for safety services; or placing a replacement property tax of up to 5 mills for safety services or between $87.50 to $175 a year per homeowner; or reducing the reciprocity for residents who work and pay in other cities which would have cost an average resident about $700 a year.

3. Tax increase addresses areas with most calls for service

Vice Mayor Suzi Rubin’s proposal gained traction with council members over the past several weeks because it provided the funding needed for safety service and additional revenues for capital project and infrastructure needs while giving residents the tax credit.

“This would be an earnings tax for those who work and shop in the city in areas where most of the emergency services calls are coming from,” she said.

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In a previous presentation, City Manager Bill Brock said calls for service have gone from 1,956 fire runs and 11,996 police calls for service in 2005 to 2,835 fire runs and 24,4662 police calls for service in 2016. Most of these calls are in the business and commercial areas around the Interstate 75/Ohio 63 interchange, he said.

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