WILMINGTON — A third and final vote on placing an earnings tax before Wilmington voters in November is expected to be delayed while an independent law firm reviews the ordinance.
Both the resolution placing the issue before voters and the ordinance spelling out the tax itself were “asked to go to another attorney for further review,” said finance chair Mark McKay at Wednesday night’s finance committee meeting.
“Basically, I thought we needed to have somebody who was a tax specialist take a look at it,” said President of Council Randy Riley. “This is one of those situations where if the ‘i’s’ aren’t dotted and the ‘t’s’ aren’t crossed, you can have someone come back and cry foul, and you don’t have a defense.”
Both pieces of legislation were on the agenda for Thursday night’s council meeting. Presumably, council would vote to postpone votes on the ordinance and resolution until council’s following meeting on July 14.
“This isn’t my preference or anybody’s preference,” said Mark McKay. “But given the choice of putting this through and it be incorrect and give someone the possibility of picking it apart later and waiting two weeks, I believe that we should wait the two weeks.”
Riley said he didn’t know whether Jeffrey A. Stankunas himself, or an attorney working for Stankunas, is doing the review. Stankunas is a partner of and heads Isaac Wiles’ Labor and Employment Law services.
McKay said the final cost of the review isn’t known, and Mayor John Stanforth said it was “irrelevant” due to its necessity.
Marian Miller, executive assistant to the mayor, said, “They were uncomfortable telling us to move forward.
“The city wants to ensure we’re providing good legislation to the voters that they can be confident that it’s correct,” Miller told the News Journal.
“There have been other municipalities that have tried to do levies … and if you have something wrong at the very beginning and it stays in there, then you’re really messed up,” Riley said at the finance committee meeting.
Committee member Kelsey Swindler was absent from the meeting.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.