New Carlisle could cut services such as police, snow plowing, brush pickup and more if a change to how it collects income taxes is approved by voters on Nov. 7.
But supporters of the ballot initiative said the current system is unfair.
Issue 4 will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. It allows voters to decide whether New Carlisle should be required to give credit on their local income taxes to residents who live in the city but work elsewhere.
Ohio residents pay income taxes both in the city where they work and where they live. Some cities give their residents credit if they work elsewhere but New Carlisle doesn’t. Springfield gives residents a 50 percent credit and Columbus gives a 100 percent credit.
New Carlisle resident Kelli Bartlett believes she’s unfairly taxed twice and gathered signatures to put the issue on the ballot to force the city to provide a tax credit if voters approved it.
“(It’s about) whether New Carlisle residents should receive an income tax credit for taxes paid to another city such as where we work,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett pays a 2.5 percent income tax in Dayton and she believes it’s not right that she also must pay 1.5 percent to New Carlisle because she lives there but doesn’t work there.
A lot of misinformation about the issue is getting around, New Carlisle City Manager Randy Bridge said.
“Some of the citizens I have talked to think of this more as a reciprocal agreement, to where there is a sharing of the revenue. That is just simply not true,” he said. “It would be absolutely devastating if Issue 4 should pass.”
The city would lose about $984,000 from income tax revenue annually, Bridge said.
“In order for us to maintain our expenses and not eat into our reserves, we would have to cut $879,000 from our budget,” Bridge said.
That would have a ripple effect on many city services, he said.
“Namely the police, where we would have to look to cut about $380,000 from their budget,” Bridge said.
The city currently contracts with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office to dedicate four deputies to patrol New Carlisle and respond to calls there. The city could go down to one deputy if the ballot issue passes, Bridge said.
Anything funded out of the general fund also could be affected, he said, and services free to residents might be stopped.
“Limb and brush pick up, leaf pick up, that will be eliminated,” Bridge said. “How often we plow the roads will have to be re-analyzed.”
About 60 percent of the city’s income tax revenue comes from residents who work outside New Carlisle, according to public records. If the city can no longer collect from them, Bridge has said it could lead to the city dissolving eventually.
Bartlett has said before she doesn’t believe New Carlisle would disappear if the tax change passed.
“I’ve lived there my entire life,” she said. “New Carlisle will still exist, just maybe not as a municipality.”
The city will hold community meetings until the election to inform residents about the ballot issue but hasn’t scheduled them yet.
Cathy Marshall lives in New Carlisle and said if it passes, it could hurt the city.
“If this was to pass, the services for the city, the streets, everything, it will affect them,” she said.
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