CLAYTON — City council passed a resolution to expend funds to oppose an effort by a local group called Clayton Concerned Citizens, who have collected signatures to place an initiative on the ballot to reinstate the city’s 100 percent income tax credit.
In November 2015 city council voted to reduce the tax credit for income earned by residents working outside of Clayton. Clayton Concerned Citizens allege that city council passed the legislation during the Thanksgiving holiday period when most people were distracted and busy preparing for the holiday.
The mission of the Clayton Concerned Citizens is to reinstate the full tax credit by giving tax payers their lawful right to restore the tax credit. When the city changed the tax credit the group alleges that the measure resulted in residents facing double taxation.
One resident estimates that the change made by the city would cost her at least $2,000 more over a four-year period. Others say the city’s move has created a tax burden they cannot afford, forcing them to prepay estimated taxes to the city.
At last Thursday’s council meeting Clayton passed a resolution authorizing the city manager to expend funds (not to exceed $25,000) to “oppose an issue affecting the operation and / or well-being of the city.” The legislation also authorizes the city manager and city employees to engage in activities related to opposition of the issue, citing a provision within the city charter which allows this type of activity in Section 12.12.
On November 12 the city received an email from the Clayton Concerned Citizens informing city council of their intent to proceed with an initiative to have the full income tax credit reinstated by amending Sections 183.08 of the Clayton Codified Ordinances.
“The amendment would directly adversely affect the operation and well-being of the city,” said City Manager Rick Rose. “By city charter we can expend funds with council approval to oppose this action by educating our public of what that money is needed for and where it goes.”
According to Rose of the $8.4 million the city spent on road improvements over the last four years, most of that funding came as a result of the city changing the income tax credit.
“The city would lose over $1 million a year if this (initiative) were to happen, which is a large portion of the city funding,” Rose noted.
He told council that he believes that educating citizens of why the income tax credit change is important for the city can be accomplished through some no cost methods via the city’s newsletter, both digital and in print and through “other campaigns” to educate the public on how the funding is used and where it comes from.
“I think it is also important to mention that when this was approved everyone on council, with the exception of one person, was affected by the ordinance,” said Vice Mayor Tim Gorman.
It is unclear when the initiative by the Clayton Concerned Citizens would appear on the ballot. Based on language contained in the city charter the initiative would have to appear on the next regular municipal election, which would be in November 2020.
Ron Nunnari can be reached at 684-9124, via email at Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind