Road troubles not going away, mayor says after tax levy proposal stalls

A proposed income tax levy was pulled from Tuesday’s Middletown City Council agenda, but the member who proposed it warned the city’s road issues won’t be going away.

Council had given the proposed ordinance a first reading that would have placed the tax increase on the November ballot, and needed to adopt the proposed ordinance by a super-majority vote of four of the five council members as an emergency measure to make the Aug. 8 ballot deadline.

Had the levy made it to the ballot and was approved by voters, the additional revenues would have generated about $3.2 million a year for 10 years for road improvements and repairs.

However, two council members — Steve Bohannon and Ami Vitori — said they would not vote to put a levy on the ballot, saying that the time was not right as the city has a number of projects underway, including the development of housing and transportation plans this year. Vitori also said she made a campaign promise not to raise taxes last fall.

During the council comments portion of the meeting, Mayor Larry Mulligan thanked his fellow colleagues for considering the proposal for a 10-year, 0.25-percent income tax increase.

“I understand everyone had differing opinions and I understand that maybe now is not the time to do that,” Mulligan said. “I look forward to working with the rest of council as we work to come up with some creative ways to address the roads…. Obviously, the problem is not going to go away.”

The Journal-News conducted a Facebook poll with 922 people responding whether or not they favored an income tax levy for roads. Of those polled, 61 percent opposed the income tax increase and 39 percent were in favor of the income tax increase.

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