FAIRBORN — Fairborn voters will have to wait to cast their ballots in-person for the proposed income tax increase aimed to support the city’s police and fire departments.
In-person voting for the Ohio primary election did not take place March 17 after Ohio Director of Health Amy Acton signed an order to close polls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson agreed with the decision, saying the health, safety, and welfare of citizens is his top priority.
“While we are disappointed that we will have to wait to see if our income tax increase passes, we understand the need to ensure the safety of our population, especially those that are the most vulnerable to this virus,” Anderson said.
The proposed income tax increase would raise it by .50 percent and generate approximately $4.8 million per year.
If the income tax increase passes, it would impact those who receive a W-2 or 1099 form to file their annual taxes as well as those who generate income with rental properties. It would not impact those who are on a fixed income, such as individuals who operate from Social Security, military pay or government assistance.
The income tax rate would be in place for 10 years if passed and would begin on Jan. 1, 2021.
Anderson said city officials chose the primary election to ask voters for their support, as the city examines and plans the annual budget for the upcoming year during the summer months. Therefore, city officials involved with budget planning would know whether or not they would have additional funds to work with.
“We begin to prepare our budget for the upcoming year in July, so as long as we know the results of the election before mid-July we can prepare accordingly for the 2021 budget,” Anderson said.
Anderson shared that the city would not put the proposed increase on the November general election ballot, as Fairborn City Schools will have a levy on the ballot and the city does not want to “compete” with the local school district and force voters to make a choice.
Anderson said the city might place the proposed income tax increase again during the following primary election if it fails, slated for May 2021, as it would allow them to know the results with enough time to plan the following year’s annual budget.
If the levy fails, Fairborn would be unable to fill open positions across the entire city and would have to lay off police and fire personnel to make up for the lost income.
“We cannot afford to lose [employees] on either side,” Anderson said in a previous interview. “A reduction in force will be noticeable. We would have the bare number of police officers [and fire fighters] on the street at any given time. If we lose [those employees], it will be difficult to provide the level of services we do now.”
The City of Fairborn has experienced recent housing and population growth, and has not asked voters to support an income tax levy since 2005. Anderson explained that with the city’s ongoing growth, an income tax increase is necessary to maintain the level of services currently provided by the police and fire departments.
Vote by mail continues per the Secretary of State’s website. Deadline to request an absentee ballot is May 26. In person voting currently set for June 2 unless a lawsuit changes it.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.