WILMINGTON — Taxes were on the minds of citizens during the Wilmington City Council meeting on Thursday night. During the meeting a local man spoke about upcoming tax issues that will be on the November ballot.
Bill Liermann, former city council member and school board member, spoke during the open discussion segment of the meeting in favor of the proposed temporary city income tax on the Nov. 8 ballot.
“While it is never popular for current or previous members of city council to support any type of tax increase, I truly feel there is now a demonstrated need,” said Liermann, “I can support this proposal because it is not permanent. Voters will expect for you to be good stewards of their money and spend it wisely over the five years it is to be collected. The city streets need upgraded and without additional income, there is no available resource for them.”
Liermann gave credit to Service and Safety Director Brian Shidaker and Police Chief Duane Weyand for being open and demonstrating what the tax services could possibly do in regards to the safety for the town and the staffing of police.
“The continued safety of our citizens with the issues of crime and coping with drugs, especially the heroin epidemic keep them extremely busy right now. I hate to think what could happen with even fewer available officers on patrol to help ensure our safety,” said Liermann.
In regards to transparency Liermann told council that he urges Mayor John Stanforth and city council to appoint a tax oversight committee comprised of citizens at-large, who can help monitor how additional money would be spent.
Also at council:
• Jeff Rhein of Mental Health and Recovery Services of Warren and Clinton County and Citizens for Mental Health encouraged those in attendance to vote for the mental health levy renewal. Rhein highlighted that the levy would help provide treatment and counseling for people recovering from mental illness and/or addictions, help people get back to work or school, and teach kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
• The City Auditor’s Office received the Auditor of State Award due to the city’s excellent record-keeping. The award is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a financial audit and meeting a criteria of a clean audit report.
• Julie Bolton and Darcy Reynolds were introduced as the new Main Street Wilmington interim directors. They announced upcoming events coming to Wilmington including the first Beer Bonanza Oct. 22 and Downtown Trick or Treat Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• During the finance committee report, a first reading was held for an ordinance that would make miscellaneous transfers including $10,000 from collection vehicle fuel to collection vehicle expense, $3,000 from consultant services to consultant services — building inspection, and $8,000 from program expense to operating expense.
• During the water committee report, council member Kelsey Swindler highlighted that the projected 2016 revenue had increased from 2015. According to Swindler, this was not because of a rate increase but because of more accurate metering. “Updating the meters has really paid off literally,” said Swindler.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574