WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington’s current 0.5-percent income tax levy will become a permanent one afte it passed 897-567 in unofficial results Tuesday night.
Passed in 2016 as a temporary tax levy, Mayor John Stanforth told the News Journal in February that he believed the time has come to make it permanent.
“I had it as a temporary to show the citizens we could husband their money and use it wisely,” said Stanforth, adding he believes the city has kept its original promises.
Those promises were: maintaining safety services; paving the streets, enforcing city codes; and maintaining carry-over, “which really affects our bond rating,” he added then.
Stanforth noted in February’s election issue preview that, since they’ve increased code enforcement, citizens have been keeping their yards cleaner. According to statistics from the city, they’ve given 1,017 citations for weed and grass violations and 542 for litter violations between 2016 and 2019.
Another reason the city wanted to make the tax permanent, Stanforth said, is that he believes the citizens have gotten used to services the tax has allowed the city to do.
“I can’t imagine that the citizens would want less of what we’re doing now,” said Stanforth in February.
City Administrator Marian Miller had said that, with this tax, Wilmington has been able to get two new ambulances as well as two police cruisers, and has hired five new firefighters this year.
Stanforth added they’ve also been able to keep up the rotations and updates of police patrol cruisers.
Another benefit of the tax, he said, is that the city has been able to apply for project grants.
“Part of the criteria for grants is, ‘Do you have any skin in the game? Can you put some money up?’ When you’re able to put matching money in, that moves you up the food chain,” said Stanforth.
Five tax levy questions were on local ballots in the primary election. In unofficial results:
• Marion Township (including Blanchester)
The ballot issue asked to replace 3.5 mills of an existing levy and add 2 mills to provide emergency medical services from Blanchester EMS for a five-year time period, first due in 2021. “This is the first time in 18 years we have asked for additional money — even through the many operational increases such as the rising cost of medications and supplies, maintenance and upkeep of our fleet, insurance, utilities and so on,” said Blanchester EMS Chief James Burroughs.
• Adams East Fire District
The ballot issue asked to replace the 4 mills of an existing levy and add 2.5 mills for both fire protection and emergency medical services for a five-year period, first due in 2021. Additional funds are needed to pay for cost increases all the way around, according to Adams Township Trustee Chris Collett, including 24-hour staffing costs, emergency medical technicians, increased equipment costs, and an increase in training costs.
• Clinton-Warren Joint Fire & Rescue
Trailed 285-266 in Clinton County, but was ahead 126-98 in Warren County.
The ballot issue asked to replace the 4 mills of an existing levy and add 2.5 mills for both fire protection and emergency medical services for a five-year period, first due in 2021. Additional funds are needed to maintain and keep the district’s 24-hour coverage for EMS and for fire, said Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District & EMS Chief Bob Wysong.
• Clark Township (including Martinsville)
The ballot issue asked for approval of an additional tax to provide emergency medical services from the Clark Township Life Squad. It is a 3-mills levy for a five-year time period, first due in 2021. Additional funds are needed in order to continue a paid part-time crew of medical emergency personnel, said Clark Township Life Squad Chief Dan Quigley.
• Vernon Township Cemetery Levy (0.5 mills, 5 years)