TROY — The Troy City Council Recreation and Parks Committee voted to move forward with the 10 year, .25 percent earned income tax for recreation projects option on Monday.
Chairman Brock Heath and Doug Tremblay both supported the 10 year, .25 percent earned income tax levy to be placed on the May 2 ballot for Troy residents to consider. If the levy passes, the earned income tax would collect at a total 2 percent rate from its current 1.75 percent. Heath and Tremblay also voted to consider the ordinance as an emergency to meet the Feb. 1 deadline for filing ballot issues.
Committee member Robin Oda filed a minority report stating she did not support the emergency designation, although she supports the overall initiative to be presented to the Troy residents for their vote.
“My concern is taxing the citizens and how far do we go with taxes,” Oda said.
Oda said she struggled with calling it an emergency and felt like “we are rushing it.” Oda also expressed concern for the staffing levels for the park and recreation departments.
Director of public service and safety Patrick Titterington said the timelines for the election needs legislation passed in order to have the levy certified by Feb. 1 for the May 2 primary ballot. Titterington also addressed the staffing levels, noting the city recognized some staff would be needed if the Operation Recreation projects moved forward. Also, many of the organizations who would utlize Duke Park North would participate in maintainence, such as ball field work.
The new proposal includes expanded project features of the initial recreation proposal presented this fall with the 2.1-mills property tax levy on the Nov. 8 ballot. Council voted to remove that levy due to an error in the ballot language Nov. 7. That levy proposed to raise $8 million for projects with a goal of raising $4 million in private donations.
According to the Operation Recreation Levy Committee, the earned income tax option would affect working Troy residents as well as non-residents working in the city; would not tax retirement income; generate more revenue to reduce the dependence of private fund raising, the funds generated “should guarantee that all projects will be completed” and the 10 year income tax increase would allow for the construction of a second ice rink.
According to the committee report,the 2010 U.S. Census, Troy’s median income per worker of $28,651, a .25 percent increase would cost $71.63 per year or less than $6.00 per month. Using median household income of $47,517 per year, the estimated maximum increase would be less than $10 per month. An analysis by Troy Income Tax staff estimates an average maximum income tax increase of $6.14 per month.
The 10-year plan would raise approximately $25.7 million over the decade of collection. The 10-year plan includes the projected $10 million second ice rink which would be Olympic regulation size. The committee did not discuss the second plan which was present to the park and recreation boards last week. The second plan was the five year, $17.375 million plan without the second sheet of ice.
The city of Troy has pledged $1.86 million over the 10 years to help fund the projects. An additional $840,000 in grants and $1.1 million in foundations and private pledges was also included in its projections.
The Operation Recreation plan still includes improvements to the Duke Park North infrastructure, Miami Shores Golf Course, Troy Senior Citizens Center with an addition to the initiative of a proposed $10 million second ice rink adjacent to the newly renovated Hobart Arena.
If passed, the 0.25 percent earned income tax would revert back to the 1.75 percent after the 10 year period of collection is complete or if funds were collected at a higher allowing the levy to “sunset” early.
The list of projects to be completed with the levy funds if passed include Duke Park construction of nine baseball/softball fields, three youth soccer fields, improve parking, park entrances and consolidate park maintenance, extension f water and sewer utilities to the Troy Junior Football concession stands.
Miami Shores Golf Course’s projects include complete renovation of the clubhouse and installation of an outdoor practice driving range.
Hobart Arena’s project would include the 100-feet by 200 feet Olympic-sized ice rink with bleacher seating for up to 1,2000.
The William Maier Senior Citizens Center projects would include repairs and renovation of the roof, siding, foundation, doors, windows and concrete; restoration of shuffleboard courts and resurfacing of the parking lot.
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