Powell City Council will hold a special meeting this month to solicit feedback from residents on whether it should ask voters to raise the city's income-tax rate.

Council on July 17 discussed a recommendation from its Citizen Financial Review Task Force to raise the income tax rate from 0.75 percent to 1.15 percent. The task force also recommended increasing the credit from 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent for residents who live in Powell but work in and pay income taxes to another municipality.

The city's 18-member task force in June released a report detailing why an income-tax increase is the most fiscally responsible way to raise an estimated $2 million in additional revenue annually to maintain Powell's infrastructure.

The city held a public forum on the task force's report July 10, but council members said they want more time to weigh in on the information.

The special meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, at the Village Green Municipal Building, 47 Hall St., and public comment will be allowed.

The seven-member body then could vote on whether to put an issue on the fall ballot at its Aug. 7 meeting.

The filing deadline for the November election is Aug. 8.

"Now is the time for the public to come forward and make their comments," said council member Melissa Riggins. "We really need to hear more from the public. I really, really can't stress that enough -- we need the input and the time is now."

The city's income-tax rate has remained the same for 27 years. Central Ohio cities with a 2.5 percent tax include Columbus, Grandview Heights, Worthington and Upper Arlington; Dublin and New Albany have a 2 percent rate.

The city of Delaware has a 1.85 percent income-tax rate.

Gahanna's rate stands at 1.5 percent, but its leaders July 2 approved a November ballot issue to raise its income tax to 2.5 percent. If approved, 75 percent of the increase would be dedicated to infrastructure maintenance and capital improvements.

Powell has 120 lane miles of streets and roads, 77 miles of storm sewers and 24 miles of bicycle paths. In the past, much of the maintenance of the city's infrastructure has been funded by estate taxes and the local government fund, plus some grants.

For the past eight years, the city has been hampered by cuts to local-government-fund revenue sharing and the repeal of the Ohio estate tax, city leaders said. Recent funds for infrastructure costs have been limited to about $500,000 a year, mainly from gasoline taxes.

The task force found that the city receives only about 4 cents from every dollar of property tax paid.

Raising property taxes would be "regressive" toward senior citizens, whose pensions and Social Security income would not be affected by an increase in the income-tax rate, officials said.

A property tax also would not collect any tax from people who work in the city and use its infrastructure but live elsewhere.

Nonresidents who work in the city pay about $1.28 million in income tax, or about 26 percent of all income taxes collected by the city, officials said. Raising the income tax would collect an additional $680,000 from those nonresidents, city calculations show.

Mayor Jon Bennehoof said while council will decide whether to put the issue on the ballot, ultimately, city voters will decide.

"I could support this as it stands. I have had positive feedback about a number of things. I haven't had any negative feedback, personally, to me on this," Bennehoof said. "I'm in favor of putting something on the ballot because I think it's important that we accommodate our capital needs."

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