Powell City Council will look to a newly created panel for advice before deciding whether to ask voters to pay more in taxes to fund capital improvements.
Council on Jan. 2 unanimously voted to establish the Powell Citizen Financial Review Task Force. The 18-member panel is tasked with reviewing the city's cost-reduction efforts, capital-improvement needs and revenue-generation options.
Potential revenue sources singled out for study in the legislation establishing the panel include:
* boosting economic-development activity
* increasing fees
* raising property or income taxes
* reducing the income-tax credit for residents who work outside of Powell.
City Manager Steve Lutz said the city's 0.75 percent income-tax rate has hampered Powell's ability to fund parks, road projects and other infrastructure improvements. The city grants a 0.25 percent income-tax credit to residents who pay income taxes to other municipalities.
While the task force will review the city's income-tax rate, Lutz said that will not be its lone objective. He said the group also will "compare our services to other (municipalities) and identify best practices."
Richard Cline, a longtime Powell resident who previously served on council as the city's mayor, will act as the group's chairman.
Representatives from nine Powell neighborhoods will serve on the task force. Five members of the group live in the city's Golf Village subdivision, which will have more representation than any other neighborhood.
Craig Sedoris, co-owner of downtown business More Time for You, is the lone member of the panel who does not live in Powell. Other notable members of the group include Christina Drummond and Jeffrey Gardiner, the fifth- and sixth-place finishers in November's race for four open seats on City Council.
Lutz said city officials made sure to seek out residents from multiple neighborhoods and "different professional backgrounds" for the task force.
The group, which is expected to start meeting this month, has been asked to finish its work by the end of June. Lutz previously said the group's timeline would give council the opportunity to pursue a tax-related ballot issue in November, if council members pursue that route.
The three council incumbents who won re-election last fall all pointed toward the task force as a good way to determine how to pay for needed capital projects.
Vice Mayor Tom Counts, who has served on council since 2006, previously said he ran for another term last year in order to help find a way forward on infrastructure funding. He said he hopes the group can come to a consensus on how to pay for capital-improvements projects.