BLANCHESTER – The decision on a proposed earnings tax increase for the Village of Blanchester may come down to the voters.
Blanchester Village Council passed a first reading amending the ordinance of a one-percent earnings tax increase to put the matter up for vote in the Nov. 3 general election.
“We’re going to go ahead and move on with putting it on the ballot,” said Blanchester Mayor John Carman.
Council on Thursday also amended the ordinance to reflect a start date of January 1, 2016.
According to the ordinance, the tax will affect the wages of anyone working within the Village of Blanchester, whether residents or non-residents.
Carman said council has voted on the tax several times in past years, but the issue has been quashed each time.
“It was probably going to end up on the ballot regardless,” Carman said, referencing past years in which referendum petitions were turned in by various members of the public, pushing the issue to the ballot. “We just figured if it was going that way, we might as well just put it on, rather than, as one person put it, impose it.”
At a previous meeting, Carman said the tax was proposed to fill a need for a financial boost for the Village of Blanchester.
“We’ll be faced with cutting people,” he told the News Journal at the time. “We’ve cut everywhere else we can cut, so the only other thing we have left would be salaries, obviously, for our employees.”
Carman then said if the tax gets voted down in the election, it will come at the cost of Blanchester Police Department resources.
“Paying for the police department is the largest part of our budget, so we would have to look there first,” he said.
Blanchester Fiscal Officer Sherry Cope said the last time council placed the tax on the ballot was in 2013, at which time it failed by 103 votes.
This time around, Cope said, the ordinance has been changed to reflect a seven-year moratorium on the issue. The moratorium dictates that after seven years, the public can decide if they want to keep the tax or not.
The second reading on the matter will be held at the next council meeting.
Reach David Wright at 937-556-5770, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.