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Kenton City Council will have to decide whether or not to put a five-year, .25 percent increase to the city’s income tax on the ballot in November.
The city’s finance committee – Brian Hattery, Carl McCullough and Tom Taylor – on Monday unanimously approved allowing council to decide whether to put the issue before voters.
City residents currently are required to pay a 1.50 percent income tax.
Mayor Randy Manns hopes that if the .25 percent tax increase is passed, it would bring an estimated $400,000 of additional revenue annually to the city for the maintenance of streets, parks and capital improvements.
Manns said the first priority with additional tax revenues would be to provide matching funds for grants the city is looking to obtain to improve streets and sidewalks including those in the downtown area.
He added that park improvements would also be included as well as possibly hiring personnel to bring the police and fire departments up to full staffing levels if enough revenue is raised from the tax increase.
“A majority of the people I talk to complain about the downtown streets, the roads and sidewalks,” Manns said. “In my mind this is something we need to take to the people, explain it to them and let them make up their minds.”
He noted it would be a five-year tax as opposed to a permanent one, so that resident can have a chance to see that things that were promised are being accomplished at the end of that time period and can decide accordingly whether they want to renew it or not.
As part of the ordinance the ordinance language council will receive, if voters approve the income tax increase, the city would reinstate the reciprocity credit for residents that live in Kenton, but work and pay taxes to another municipality.
That means that if a city resident works in Marysville and pays a 1.50 percent income tax to that city, that if passed they would only be required to pay .25 percent in income tax to Kenton.
For the last several years, resident have been require to pay the full Kenton income tax whether they pay taxes to the municipality they work in or not.
Reciprocity was in effect in Kenton until it was taken away several years ago.
Once Council receives a draft of the ordinance to place the levy proposal on the ballot, the ordinance will have three readings. Council has until Aug. 8 to approve the increase if it is to be placed on the November ballot.
By KENDRICK JESIONOWSKI
Times sports editor