South Vienna adds income tax without resident vote

Updated Jan 13, 2017
Christina Hopping works in South Vienna and supports the new income tax. Katherine Collins/Staff

The new year brought a new income tax to South Vienna, in effect after the village council approved it last year but without a vote by residents.

The village had no income tax before Jan 1. The one percent income tax didn’t need to be approved by voters, South Vienna Mayor Toni Keller said, because the law only requires council approval for an income tax that’s one percent or less.

“We talked about it for about 20 years,” Keller said.

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South Vienna was one of a few villages left in the area with no income tax, she said.

“We just want to operate efficiently and try to do the best we can without giving up our services for our residents,” Keller said.

Revenue from the new tax will be used to continue to provide services to the community, she said, including the part-time police department, snow and trash removal, park maintenance and septic tank cleaning.

“It’s just to keep the village running,” Keller said.

Some neighbors support the new tax, because it will maintain the services they’ve grown accustomed to.

“As long as it benefits the community, I think we should do it,” said Kim Moone, who lives and works in the village.

“If you went to the board meeting, they explained to you about the income tax raise, and you could’ve had an opinion then,” she said.

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Christina Hopping works in the village and will have to pay the tax, but doesn’t live there.

“I’m all for it,” she said.

The services the community offers are helpful to her, she said, and she wants to see them continue.

“Keeping the sidewalks clear and keeping the roads clear,” she said, “that’s very important to me.”

Hopping is also glad to know the police department is close by if she ever has a problem at work at the South Vienna Market and Dairy.

But other residents wish they would have had a vote.

“I wish that it would’ve been more widely publicized about meetings in which the town voted on it,” Robyn Stevens said.

“But it was my choice not to attend the meeting when I did find out that it was going on,” she said.

Stevens said she probably would’ve supported the tax if she had more information about it.

“…Ultimately I think that it’s going to be good for the town.”

The village doesn’t yet know how much revenue will be collected by the tax.

“This is a whole new thing for us,” Keller said. “So we have nothing to judge it by yet.”

Residents are welcome to discuss the tax at future village council meetings, Keller said, held on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. The meetings take place at the Municipal Building, 149 West Main St. Residents can get on the agenda by calling 937-568-4311.