Opinion:If you thought the earnings tax idea died back in January, 2007 when it was rejected by a unanimous vote of City Council, you would be wrong. Efforts have continued behind the scenes and now signs are pointing toward a new public push for the measure.
City officials have begun a soft spoken campaign highlighting the financial challenges the city faces in the future in an effort to educate the public and shape opinion. In the past few months City Manager Mike Cornell and many Council members have taken time out to remind viewers of these challenges during televised City Council meetings.
Behind the scenes work has continued on laying the groudwork for a city income tax in Beavercreek. Discussions of a city income tax rarely occur during televised meetings of City Council but do occur during un-televised work sessions and sometimes in joint meetings with Beavercreek Township who include these discussions in their minutes. In contrast, the topic is often left off the city’s minutes for the same meeting.
One of the major arguments that is always brought up by the opposition has been that the cost of implementing the tax would erase much of the revenue. This is based on the city using the company RITA (Regional Income Tax Agency) which specializes in collecity city income tax. In an effort to eliminate this argument, people are exploring having Vandalia administer Beavercreek’s city income tax to reduce the overall cost.
So why do they have to work behind the scenes you may ask. Well, unlike other city governments, Beavercreek City Council can’t just vote in a city income tax. They are prevented from doing so by an amendment to the City Charter passed by voters back in the 1990’s. They can, however, put a measure for a city income tax on the ballot, letting the people vote on it. But the last time this was attempted back in 2007 it produced a public outcry against such a measure and led to a unanimous vote against it by City Council.
But that was then and this is now. A lot of things have changed. Now there are two current members of City Council who were very active in the group that was pushing for a city income tax back in 2007, Zach Upton and Deborah Wallace. Mayor Giambrone and Council member Jarvis have also taken time out during recent meetings to highlight the financial challenges the city faces. Add those up and you already have enough council members to get the measure on the ballot for voters. Voters should be prepared to see a measure on the ballot in November unless there’s also a school levy on the ballot.