Local governments seek $36 million in levies

Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 @ 5:37 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 @ 5:37 PM

Local government levies on May ballot
Income tax Rate Duration Purpose Annual revenue
West Carrollton 0.25 pct 5 years general 600,000
Beavercreek 1.5 pct 7 years general 10.2 million
Local government levies on May ballot
Property tax Millage Per 100,000 valuation
Miami Twp. 3.5 5 years fire 2 million 107.19
Miami Twp. 5.25 5 years police 3 million 160.78
Waynesville 7 5 years police 364,600 214.38
Waynesville 1 5 years streets 52,100 30.62
Oakwood 3.75 5 years general 1.1 million 114.84
Clearcreek Twp. 4.5 continuing fire 4.4 million 137.81
Frank Twp.-Carlisle JEMS 2.61 continuing ambulance 710,000 710,000 80
Washington Twp., Mont Cty 4.65 5 years fire 7.3 million 142.41
Washington Twp., Mont Cty 0.7 5 years rec center 1.1 million 21.44
Harrison Twp. 13 continuing police police-EMS 3.5 million 398.13
Harrison Twp. 4 5 years police 1.1 million 122.5
Fletcher 1.5 continuing road,bridge 7,905 45.94
Washington Twp., Miami Cty 2 5 years fire 83,929 61.25
Source: auditor, election, local government officials

Ten Miami Valley communities will ask local voters for more than $36 million in taxes this year, mirroring initiatives across the state aimed at raising revenues for local governments.

Elected leaders in West Carrollton and Beavercreek will seek income tax levies in May, while their counterparts in Oakwood, Waynesville and Miami, Washington, Harrison and Clearcreek townships and the Franklin Twp.-Carlisle ambulance service will ask for millage through taxes on local property owners.

The moves follow large cuts in Local Government Funds dispersed by the state and elimination of estate tax revenues since the election of Gov. John Kasich.

In response to the cuts, local communities have turned to taxpayers to maintain or increase funding of services, or found ways to make due with less through cuts or shared services.

“It is going on across the state,” said Kent Scarrett, communications director for the Ohio Municipal League. “It certainly has made people think outside the box, look at more efficiencies.”

Kasich’s new two-year budget proposal does not appear to contain the major cuts to local cities and townships that his first budget did. The new budget proposal would increase Local Government Fund money by roughly 4 percent annually according to state officials, not nearly offsetting the 25 percent cuts in the previous budget.

Local governments have forged regional agreements, cut jobs and privatized services. Before making additional cuts or rolling back the credit to residents working in other cities, taxpayers are being asked to continue existing levies or pay higher income or property taxes to help fund the services.

In November, Riverside voters — already subject to a 50-percent reduction in the credit on income taxes paid where they work — are expected to be asked to approve a 0.5 percent income tax increase.

“Every citizen cannot pay today’s bills on income they made 10 years ago. City government is no different,” Riverside City Manager Bryan Chodkowski said. “We’re out of options. It’s never enjoyable when the government has to make people begin to make lifestyle choices.”

The added tax burdens will be particularly difficult for taxpayers in communities like Riverside, where the median household income is $38,774, about $2,500 lower than in West Carrollton, $41,312, according to the U.S. Census.

Riverside resident Rebecca Weaver, who works in Dayton, said she doesn’t believe residents will be able to absorb the tax increases.

“There aren’t enough people in Riverside working right now,” she said. “The ones that are are unfortunately not working in Riverside. If there were more opportunities to work in the city of Riverside, it might help the chances of people affording the taxes.”

In comparison, median household income in the other Miami Valley communities facing tax levy votes range from $95,061 in Oakwood to $73,357 in Beavercreek to $48,750 in Waynesville. The townships weren’t listed.

In justifying the moves for more local funds, leaders pointed to the cuts in state funding and hits to city coffers taken when companies downsize or leave town.

“It’s a trickle effect right down the line,” West Carrollton Mayor Jeff Sanner said. “The citizens of West Carrollton are used to a certain standard of service. We can’t provide it without an additional income tax.”

The cities are seeking additional taxes, while spending general revenues on economic development and repaying long-term debts owed on capital improvements, including those designed to attract businesses.

In West Carrollton, the city has cut out fireworks displays, privatized custodial services and reduced health benefits, part of cuts that have reduced more than $500,000 in expenses, officials said.

To support economic development, the city spent $50,000 last year improving roads within the corridor leading from the $26.4 million redesign of Exit 47 into the Miami Bend entertainment district. Local leaders are weighing whether to take on bond debt for construction of an arena-event center anchoring the district, as well as projects developing the adjoining riverfront as a whitewater attraction.

The city will ask voters May 7 to raise the local income tax from 2 percent to 2 ¼ percent.

“In no way is that ¼ percent income tax increase going to be used for economic development,” Sanner said. West Carrollton plans to use the new income taxes collected to help pay for basic services, like police and fire, as well as other general expenses, Sanner said.

Riverside projects $1.15 million per year in revenue would be generated if voters approve the income tax rate increase from 1.5 to 2 percent.

The city also is considering implementing a city-wide storm water utility fee, a tax that would cost the average homeowner $33 a year and generate at least $300,000 annually.

City officials point to cuts in state funding – “the state treats communities like a baby treats a diaper,” Mayor Bill Flaute said – and the fact that Riverside doesn’t collect a street levy tax as key components moving forward.

Harshman and Burkhardt roads are scheduled for construction this year, totaling $5 million in cost. City officials have said that improving the appearance of the city will play a major role in attracting businesses to Riverside.

City Council agreed to earmark the revenue generated by the income tax credit reduction ($700,000) to capital expenses.

“It needs to be known that this is what we’re planning to do with it,” Councilman Mike Denning said. “If you tell them what you’re going to do with it, then they give you money and you do what you told them, next time they will trust you a little more.”

In other communities:

• Beavercreek’s seven-year, 1.5 percent income tax proposal - the first in the city’s history - would replace other existing levies, and raise an estimated $10.2 million a year for general expenses. So far the city hasn’t discussed rolling back the credit to residents paying income tax to another municipality.

• Oakwood is considering the reduction in credit for income taxes paid by residents working in other cities, in addition to the five-year, 3.75 mill property tax levy, expected to raise an additional $1.1 million a year.

• Waynesville is placing two five-year property tax renewal levies on the May ballot: 7 mills for police, 1 mill for street repairs. So far the village, which recently enacted a 1 percent income tax, has no plans to roll back credit to residents for income taxes paid to other cities where they work. “We’ve been following the Riverside articles,” Village Manager Pat Higgins said.

• While weighing how to fund trash services since rejection of a proposed property tax levy in November, Miami Twp. will ask voters in May to back a five year, 5.25 mill property tax levy for police services despite rejection of a police levy in November.

The trustees also decided to ask voters for a five-year, 3.5 mill levy for fire service. The fire levy would help fund a district formed last year by the township and Miamisburg.

• In Harrison Twp., local ballots will include a new 5-year, 4 mill levy for police, expected to raise just under $1.1 million and cost another 122.50 for every $100,000 of property valuation, and a continuing 13 mill levy continuing funding of police and ambulance service that raises just under $3.5 million a year and costs $398.13 for every $100,000 of evaluation.

• In Washington Twp., voters will see two 5-year levies. A 0.70 mill levy would continue just under $1.1 million in annual funding for the recreation center and cost property owners $21.44 for every $100,000 in value. A 4.65 mill replacement levy would cost $142.41 for every $100,000 in evaluation raise almost $7.3 million a year for fire protection.

• In Clearcreek Twp., voters will be asked for an additional continuing 4.5 mill levy for fire and ambulance service.

Staff writers Ken McCall, Jill Kelley, Terry Morris, Ed Richter and Contributing Writer Nancy Bowman contributed to this report.

Vegetables sold at Walmart, Trader Joe's recalled for Listeria

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 9:43 PM

Mann Packing recalled various vegetable products over Listeria concerns. (Photo: Food and Drug Administration)
Mann Packing recalled various vegetable products over Listeria concerns. (Photo: Food and Drug Administration)

Mann Packing is voluntarily recalling various vegetable products sold at Walmart, Trader Joe's and Target over concerns of Listeria monocytogenes, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The company said “a single positive” test result in random sampling by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency sparked the decision to issue the recall notice. Listeria infection can cause fever, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms and even miscarriages.

"As an owner of this company and a mom, providing safe and healthy foods to our consumers and their families is always our top priority," Gina Nucci, director of corporate marketing, said in a release.

The recall includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli and vegetable medley products distributed throughout the United States and Canada with “best if used by” dates from Oct. 11 to 20.

Affected items include:

  • Walmart 12-oz. bags of broccoli cauliflower florets, broccoli florets and stir fry medley, 32-oz. bags of broccoli florets, 16-oz. bags of broccoli slaw, 10-ounce bags of cauliflower florets and super blend, 6/16-oz. bags of cauliflower and 2-lb. bags of vegetable medley.

  • Trader Joe's, 10-ounce bags of kohlrabi salad blend.

  • Archer Farms 12-oz. bags of broccoli slaw, broccoli cauliflower florets, broccoli medley and brussels sprouts, 9-oz. bags of shaved brussels sprouts and 10-oz. bags of cauliflower florets.

Aldi supermarkets also issued recall notices for Mann products.

Echoing Reagan, Trump pushes Congress to act swiftly on tax reform

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 10:05 PM

Pushing the House to take another step this week on the road to major tax reforms, President Donald Trump used an op-ed in USA Today to argue that GOP tax plans will “ignite America’s middle class miracle once again,” as he channeled former President Ronald Reagan, saying with “tax reform, we can make it morning in America again.”

“Revising our tax code is not just a policy discussion — it is a moral one, because we are not talking about the government’s money – we are talking about your money, your hard work,” the President wrote.

Mr. Trump meanwhile used a conference call with House Republicans on Sunday to make much the same argument – that now is the time for action on tax reform.

Here is where things stand on Capitol Hill when it comes to GOP plans to move legislation on tax reform.

1. The budget comes first for the GOP. Before they can focus solely on tax reform, Republicans must approve a non-binding budget outline for 2018, which would authorize expedited action on a tax bill – without the threat of a Senate filibuster. The Senate approved their plan last Thursday, and now the House seems ready to accept that this week, though the budget details are sure to give some GOP fiscal hawks some heartburn, as the plan would not ensure a balanced budget within ten years. But GOP leaders are basically telling rank and file Republicans that now is the time for tax reform, and that there is no use in getting caught up in a battle over budget cuts. Look for the House to vote later this week.

2. But ‘what if’ the House refuses to go along? If enough Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate-passed budget, then there would have to be formal House-Senate negotiations, which could take some time to hash out a deal on the budget resolution for 2018. That would obviously delay work on tax reform, and make it that much more difficult to swiftly get a tax bill moving on Capitol Hill. It seems unlikely that will happen, as more conservative lawmakers have been assured they will get votes on measures dealing with budget savings. But it is safe to say that the ‘normal’ Republican focus on budget deficits has melted away now that the GOP is in charge of the White House and Congress. Here is the sales pitch being made by the Republican Study Group, which says Speaker Paul Ryan has promised votes on some budget-related bills.

3. Let’s assume the House approves the budget – then what? If the House heeds the advice of President Trump, and votes for the Senate-passed budget outline this week, then the focus will shift to the tax-writing committees of the House and Senate – the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee, as they produce an actual tax reform bill. Remember – we don’t have a bill as yet from the White House – just some bullet points. In 1985, President Reagan sent Congress an actual 489 page bill as a starting point. President Trump’s bullet points are just a small piece of a much larger bill that is expected to be released by Republicans, as the scrums of reporters grow each day for key lawmakers, like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

4. What’s the possible timing on tax reform? Ask veterans of Capitol Hill what they think about a GOP tax plan, and they cannot imagine it getting done this year (or even at all). But the White House and GOP leaders in Congress keep talking about doing it fast, maybe having a vote in the House before a Thanksgiving break, and a Senate vote in December. If we go back and look at the tax reform timeline in the Reagan Administration, it took a lot longer. The House Ways and Means Committee started work on a draft bill in late September 1985 – it took two months to finish. The deal almost fell apart in December, as the House voted to approve that plan just before Christmas. In the Senate, it took six months to get the bill out of committee and to a vote, in June 1986. In other words, Republicans think they can move at legislative warp speed compared to thirty one years ago in the Congress.

5. Remember, there are a lot of details involved. If you are going to do just tax cuts, that’s pretty straightforward. But if you are going to try to do sweeping tax reform – for both the individual and corporate sides – that is very complicated. Just look back at 1986, and you can see that bill is filled with rifle-shot provisions intended to help just one company or group. Back then, there was no way to get this out to the voters. But with the internet and social media, these types of provisions will get a lot of attention and scrutiny.

6. One more thought on timing – from 1986. As I write this on October 22, it is 31 years to the day that President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act into law. But I clearly remembered the final agreement being struck in August – and the vote taking place soon after Labor Day. My memory was correct. So, why did it take another month for the President to sign the bill into law? For one, there were a number of errors in the final agreement, which needed to be fixed. So, on September 25, 1986, the House passed H. Con. Res. 395, to make “technical and clerical” corrections in the final bill. The Senate took that up a few weeks later, and made some changes, which were sent back to the House. The House made a few more changes. But no final resolution was agreed to, as the Congress adjourned for the year on October 18, 1986. So, four days later, the President signed the bill into law anyway. Want to do some more reading about what happened in 1986? Here you go:

And by the way, that explanation of the 1986 Tax Reform Act runs almost 1,400 pages. Happy reading!

Deputies investigating cause of double-fatal motorcycle crash

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 7:15 PM
Updated: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 9:17 PM

FROM THE SCENE: Spring Valley fatal crash

UPDATE @ 10:05 p.m.

A man and woman from Xenia were killed after the motorcycle they were riding collided with a Dodge Charger in Spring Valley Sunday night, according to troopers.

U.S. 42 remains closed as crash investigators work to learn the cause of the crash and the party responsible, our crew reports.

Troopers said the victims on the motorcycle, both in their mid-20s, were wearing helmets at the time of the crash a third victim in the Dodge is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries.

A third female victim in the Dodge was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A preliminary investigation reveals the motorcyclist was northbound on U.S. 42 when the driver of the car attempted to turn onto the highway from Spring Valley Paintersville Road.

Troopers said at this time speed and failure to yield are being considered causes, but a definitive answer will not be available until investigators are finished.

UPDATE @ 9:13 p.m.

Two people are dead after the motorcycle they were riding crashed on U.S. 42 in Greene County, according to troopers at the scene. 

Our crew is told both victims were wearing helmets at the time of the crash. 

A woman riding in a black Dodge Charger involved in the crash was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

U.S. 42 is closed at its intersection with Spring Valley Paintersville Road as an investigation continues

Our crew remains at the scene and is working to learn what caused the crash.

UPDATE @ 7:58 p.m.

At least one person is dead following a motorcycle crash in Spring Valley Sunday night, according to our crew at the scene. 

A motorcycle and black car can be seen near the intersection of U.S. 42 and Spring Valley Paintersville Road. 

Initial reports indicate a call to CareFlight was cancelled after crews arrived at the scene. 

U.S. 42 has been closed at its intersection with Spring Valley Paintersville Road as troopers investigate.

We are working to confirm multiple details with deputies in this developing story.

EARLIER REPORT

CareFlight has been requested to the scene of a motorcycle crash in Greene County. 

Crews were dispatched on a report of a crash involving a car and motorcycle just after 7 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 42 and Spring Valley Paintersville Road. 

Initial reports indicate a motorcyclist on scene has been seriously injured. 

We have a crew heading to the scene as we work to learn more.

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Family celebrates birthday of Miamisburg teen killed in wrong-way crash

Published: Sunday, October 22, 2017 @ 8:54 PM

Family celebrates birthday of teen killed in wrong-way crash

Family members gathered for a birthday celebration Sunday to honor Kalip Grimm, the 2017 Miamisburg High School graduate killed in a wrong way crash Monday night on I-675 in Centerville. 

Grimm would have been 19 today.

"It’s the worst feeling to know you're celebrating your son's birthday one day and burying him the next,” Grimm’s mother, Stacey Grimm said.

Grimm was killed when the car he was driving was hit head-on by a wrong-way driver. Family and friends will gather tomorrow for funeral and memorial services.

A memorial pamphlet honoring Kalip Grimm, a Miaimisburg teen killed in a wrong-way crash on I-675 Monday.

"He was the most compassionate person. It didn't matter time of day, if anybody needed anything he'd be right there,” Stacey Grimm said.

News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy reports hundreds of people visited the family today with some offering kind words and others sporting new tattoos honoring Kalip.

"I'm at so much peace right now to know how many people's lives he touches,” Stacey Grimm said.

'"I've had several people tell me that when 'I was going through a hard spot Caleb brought me out of it.”

Friends of Kalip Grimm show off new tattoos remembering the Miaimisburg graduate killed in a wrong-way crash Monday. Sean Cudahy/Staff

Family and friends released balloons in the air Sunday after singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in linked arms.

“We had no idea how he touched people outside of our family,” Kalip’s step mother, LeAnn Crone.

Crone said she remembers Kalip as the person who pulled his family together.

“Anybody that knew him...knew kalip...biggest heart ever...he'd give you the shirt off his back,” Crone said.

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com