Kirtland voters to consider charter amendment allowing income tax hike

Oct. 14—Kirtland voters in the Nov. 8 general election will decide whether to approve a charter amendment allowing the city council to raise income taxes to fund the city’s road program.

Currently, Article VI, Section 1 of the charter sets an income tax rate of 2%. The proposed charter amendment would keep this to a minimum, while allowing the city council to set the income tax rate at a maximum of 2.25%.

The council passed a resolution July 11 saying it would direct the city’s chief financial officer to set aside all funds received from the raise as a separate line item. As part of this resolution, council members also issued a non-binding commitment to use these funds exclusively for its road program, not including capital expenditures.

“Kirtland for…it must be over 10 years now, has struggled to fund the necessary repairs and maintenance of our roads,” Mayor Kevin Potter said. “Until recently, due to lack of funds, the city didn’t really have a strategy or a plan to not only pave our deteriorated roads and poor roads, but also to maintain good roads.”

He noted that the city has paved almost eight kilometers of road and developed a maintenance plan for its roads in the past two years, although it needs funding for the plan.

The city previously used a property tax to pay for the road program. Potter said the city chose an income tax this time around because it would raise money from city residents as well as people from other communities who work in Kirtland. Moreover, he said that an income tax would not affect retirement income.

If the levy passes, Potter expects council to raise income taxes to 2.25% to fund the city’s road program. A family with the city’s median household income of about $91,000 would pay just under $240 a year in additional taxes.

He added that the board can reduce the amount in the future if it determines the additional revenue is no longer needed.

If the levy fails, Potter said the city will work to repair and maintain the roads as best it can, but that “wouldn’t leave much for new road surfaces and long-term solutions.” “.

According to Potter, the city has worked over the past two years to reduce spending, citing the 2020 agreement under which Willoughby handles Kirtland’s shipping needs. He said the cost savings have allowed the city to pave roads and hire more full-time police officers.

According to data from the Lake County Board of Elections, there were 5,370 registered voters in Kirtland as of Oct. 13.