About 24 Powell residents met July 25 and organized in opposition to city council's decision to ask voters for an income tax increase.

About 24 Powell residents met July 25 and organized in opposition to city council's decision to ask voters for an income tax increase.

"It was keen that this group of people wanted to organize and take a more proactive approach to opposing (the tax hike), which is what resulted in my volunteering to be the treasurer for this action committee so that we can
mobilize," Powell resident Tom Kipfer told ThisWeek. The committee's name is Friends of Powell.

The residents who attended said they oppose the tax issue on the November ballot. If approved by voters, the city's income tax would change from its current 0.75 percent, with a credit as high as 0.50, to 1.5 percent with a credit as high as 1 percent.

The credit is given to residents who pay income tax to other cities where they are employed.

Officials have said that 62 percent of the residents, those who work in municipalities other than Powell, would see no income tax increase.

On July 20, city council voted 6 to 1 to send the issue to the November ballot. Council member Sara Marie Brenner was the lone opposing vote. Brenner attended the July 25 opposition meeting and said she will join the effort to defeat the November tax issue.

Council said the increase, which would raise about $2.2-million in revenue, would be spent on capital expenses for 10 years and adopted a "companion ordinance" that designates the funds. The ordinance cannot be repealed unless six of seven council members vote to do so.

Residents at the July 25 meeting expressed their concerns about the proposed income tax. They include:
Property tax bond issues are preferred by the group to income tax increases when paying for capital improvements, because such bonds expire and the proposed income tax increase is permanent. The income tax increase would be used only for capital improvements for 10 years by an ordinance that could be repealed. The proposed tax pits neighbor against neighbor because some would pay the increase and others would get the benefit. The proposed income tax issue is unfair because it would be paid by only 38 percent of the residents. Also, non-Powell residents who work in the city would be affected yet have no right to vote. It would eliminate Powell's low tax rate, which attracts residents and businesses alike. A tough economy is not the time to ask for more taxes. Residents at the meeting said they appreciate council's efforts, but think they have made the wrong decision.

"There is a lot of respect for the individuals of council but we think they're on the wrong path and we feel it's our job now, since council has already made the decision to put it on the ballot, to voice our concerns so they can start to consider new alternatives," Kipfer said.

"We intend to be proactive in looking for solutions, as well as opposing what's been currently proposed."

For more information on the Friends of Powell, visit www.powellcitycouncil.info or call Kipfer at (614) 430-8344. To review the Powell finance committee report that recommended council seek an income tax increase from voters, visit the "Powell Capital Improvements Plan and Funding Recommendation of Finance Committee" document at www. cityofpowell.us under the "Hot Topics" section of the home page.