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Tax Increase Proposed to Pay for Hamilton Road Repairs

City of Hamilton
Downtown Hamilton

A non-binding referendum on the April ballot will ask voters whether to increase the city’s utility tax. The extra revenue would go toward road repairs and help replace diminishing state funding.

“With steadily decreasing motor fuel tax revenues from the state and the rising cost of road repairs, we found it necessary to come up with some alternative way to get some additional money to keep up with the infrastructure, our roads, streets and bridges,” said Mayor Steve Lowman.

The utility tax would be increased by 5%. So a resident with a $100 gas and electric bill would pay an extra $5, which would go to the city’s road fund.

Mayor Lowman said he thought taxing utilities would be a fairer way to collect extra revenue than further raising property taxes. He estimated the tax would generate upwards of $100,000 a year.

“Otherwise we are going to have to start cutting what we are doing and we are doing so little that we’re not keeping up simply because the revenues isn’t there,” Lowman said.

Lowman said without the tax increase, the city could be forced to allow some of its paved surface roads revert to gravel.

“If they [the public] want to keep the streets up to snuff or if they want to just go with what revenues we have, which will mean declining dollars for streets, which will mean the streets won’t be maintained in the way I think we’ve become accustomed to in Hamilton,” Lowman said.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.