WILMINGTON — The finance committee of Wilmington’s council voted Wednesday evening to recommend council place a 0.5 percent earnings tax, to expire in five years, on the November general election ballot.
Specifically, the committee will recommend a resolution containing ballot language for a supplemental 0.5 percent earnings tax. Meanwhile the ordinance, which will set up details like tax credits and what type of income is taxed, will be drafted.
The committee placed the item on council’s Thursday agenda, to be discussed after the News Journal’s press time. If council approves the resolution, it will be put to voters.
If voters approve the tax increase at the Nov. 8 general election, it would raise the city’s earnings tax to 1.5 percent.
Council recently held a public work session to discuss the budget, as previously reported.
“I felt like lots of things were explained,” said finance chair Mark McKay. “I felt like there was general understanding and general commitment to move forward with the tax issue.”
Committee member Randi Milburn was more emphatic.
“We’ve talked it to death,” she said. “Let’s just do it.”
Committee member Kelsey Swindler expressed concern about the five-year expiration of the tax but was willing to compromise.
“I just don’t think that it’s prudent,” Swindler said. “I’m concerned with losing $2 million in five years. I absolutely respect the intention. … I just don’t like setting Wilmington up for that kind of problem in five years.”
McKay said the expiration would help it pass, and Milburn said she didn’t think she could support the earnings tax without the expiration date.
“I believe we probably would be better off” with a permanent one, McKay said. “But, we’re just coming off such a long period of inactivity, I think we’ve kinda gotta help folks understand where we are. When we pass this, the road’s just beginning in helping folks to see, truly, why this is essential.”
Swindler said council members must speak with community members about revenue sources that have been lost.
At the special meeting last Thursday, President of Council Randy Riley showed a decrease of $1 million of state and federal money to the city.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.