Huber Heights has announced plans to seek an income tax increase on the November 2014 ballot; the city is predicting budget shortfalls of $2.3 million per year.
“We’ve been using reserves for the past five or six years to provide the services we have out there today, and we’ve come to a crossroads,” says Scott Falkowski, Huber Heights Assistant City Manager.
Voters in 2012 rejected an income tax increase, and a school levy was defeated in 2013. A release issued by Interim City Manager Rob Schommer Tuesday says without passage of the requested .35 percent increase, the city will look at cuts to city hall, police, fire, and parks and recreation.
At the same time, a 4,500-seat music venue is going up off I-70 in Huber Heights that’s expected to complete construction by the end of the summer. The $18 million dollars for that project are coming from tax-increment financing (TIF), a special fund built up from property taxes on other development projects. TIF districts freeze property taxes at a given level, then reserve any property taxes collected from an increase in property values to spend on development. The city is currently seeking a management company for the project, which, if successful, could become a profitable enterprise for the city within two years. The city plans to bring in revenue from festivals, concerts and private rentals, as well as vendor sales in the covered theater.
“This is a great amenity for the city for multiple reasons,” says Falkowski. The project was initiated in hopes of growing recreation in an area named “The Heights.” In September, Florida-based GoodSports Enterprises announced plans to build a $22 million hotel and sports complex next door to the music center. Both venues are expected to host their first events in early 2015.