XENIA — City council will ask voters in November to fund a major street repair project.
Council voted 5-2 during its July 26 meeting to place a 3.5 mill property tax levy on the ballot. If approved by citizens, the 10-year levy would generate an estimated $1.3 million annually and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $10.21 a month, according to City Finance Director Ryan Duke.
Funds generated could only be spent for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or repair of city streets, roads and bridges.
The condition of the streets is well documented and is mostly due to decades of under-funding, according to city officials. Council promised in 2010 if an income tax increase was approved, at least $500,000 annually would be spent on roads. The city has met or exceeded that each year, but a harsh winter expedited the deterioration of many streets. The reduction of local government funds by the state has also left smaller cities like Xenia scrambling to find additional money.
The city organized a blue ribbon panel to evaluate the situation and after several meetings, recommended the city seek out all operational and capital funding sources to find additionally resources; pursue a proactive public outreach campaign to inform citizens about the challenge; and pursue a limited-term tax levy.
Council members Levi Dean and Dale Louderback cast the no votes. When running for council, Dean said he would not support new taxes. Louderback has said he doesn’t think the tax is necessary because the REACH project, and a few other “front” and “back” burner items will add to the city’s resources.