BLANCHESTER – The village is set to implement an earnings tax to fund the police department.
After three readings, Blanchester Village Council approved the 1-percent earnings tax at their June 9 meeting.
“It only affects those working in the village and those working outside of Blanchester and who are not already paying an earnings tax already,” Mayor John Carman told the News Journal.
The mayor advised in May that he foresaw the need for the police budget to increase the next year due to additional personnel being hired by Chief Don Houghton.
Carman also noted that with drugs and “all the things going on in the world” he wanted to make sure the police budget was enough to do what needed to be done.
Much as with previous attempts with voters to pass such a tax, the ordinance would not affect senior citizens, those on Social Security, people paying an income tax elsewhere, or those on unemployment benefits.
Carman told the News Journal that citizens have until July 9 to put a referendum for the tax on the November ballot. He noted he hadn’t heard of a referendum being in the works.
As things currently stand, the tax will go into effect January 1, 2023.
Public comments removed
In an attempt “to protect village employees”, council agreed to temporarily not allow public comments at Blanchester Village Council meetings.
Carman told the News Journal they have had a policy in place where speakers couldn’t talk about village employees.
“We had certain individuals who continually made false statements about our employees,” said Carman. “We need to protect our employees. We elected officials know we’ll get good comments and bad comments, but our employees shouldn’t have to deal with this.”
Officials were advised they cannot restrict what people say at a meeting since it would impede local residents’ freedom of speech. So, they’re removing it from council agendas until September, when it’ll be discussed again.
Muzzle reminder for 4th events
As the Fourth of July draws closer, the village reminds locals that dogs must wear a muzzle if they’re to be in attendance at the Fourth of July festivities.
According to the 2021 ordinance, “no person shall have control of any type of animal (excluding trained police, military, or Service Animals), on a leash or not, without a muzzle to the Fourth of July, Veterans Memorial, BHS Homecoming parades, OR any community gathering that exceeds One-Hundred (100) or more individuals. Any person violating this section is guilty of Failure to Muzzle an Animal, a minor misdemeanor.”
If the person fails to remove the unmuzzled animal from the event, will be charged with a failure to remove the animal, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.