2021 Ballot Issues
What does the 100% income tax restoration mean?
Riverside currently has one of the lowest income tax rates in Montgomery County at 1.5%. In response to a need for additional funds for City operations, Council decreased the income tax credit given for income taxes paid to other communities when residents work outside the City. The credit was reduced from 100% to 50% of income tax rate paid to the City. That means that a resident working in Dayton pays 2.5% to the City of Dayton and another 0.75% to City of Riverside for a total of 3.25%. At the same, a Riverside resident working in Riverside pays only 1.5% to the City of Riverside and no more. if the tax is approved by voters to change from 1.5% to 2.5%, your full 100% income tax credit will be restored meaning that no resident will pay more than 2.5% income tax regardless of where they work. In addition, the City Council has passed a moratorium on reducing this income tax credit for ten years that goes in to effect if the November ballot measure passes.
Hello, my name is Dan Stitzel and I am the Fire Chief for the Riverside Fire Department. The Riverside Fire Department has entered a staffing crisis beginning four years ago. We are a combination department which employs 19 full-time firefighter paramedics and 20 part-time. Five years ago, we had over 40 part-time and our daily staffing was nine on duty per day. Today, due to a national part-time firefighter shortage, we are only staffing an average of seven people a day to handle over 5,000 calls for service. Our part-time program is continuing to fail due to the shortage and a high turnover rate, as our part-time people leave to take full-time jobs elsewhere. We also have one of the lowest pay rates for part-time firefighters in the region. Our budget is very limited for hiring more full-time firefighters. We obtained a federal grant from FEMA two years ago which provided three additional fulltime people. In one year the grant expires. Since we began staffing nine a day in 2006, our call volume has increased by 56% and our daily staffing has dropped by 20%. This staffing crisis is only getting worse. We rely heavily on our neighbors to respond to emergencies creating longer response times into our city. How firefighters have to delay their fire attacks waiting for our neighboring departments to arrive so we can attack the fire safely and within national rules and standard. Many cities and townships in the Miami Valley have already taken this initiative and transitioned their departments to more or all fulltime departments. It is past time that Riverside do the same.
Passing this tax is vital to our ability to improve our operation capabilities to the level the citizens of Riverside deserve. We can increase our quality of operation by reducing our reliance on a failing part time program, decease our response time to your emergencies, and conduct safer and more effective fire ground operations by assembling more firefighters, more quickly, to reduce the amount of damage caused by fire and greatly improve our ability to save lives. We can support our firefighters and paramedics with tools and resources they need to provide the absolute best service possible to our residents. With this tax, we can begin community wellness and fire prevention program fire departments across the region have been doing for years. We will improve our fire inspection and code enforcement program that has only had minimal man hours dedicated to it. We can increase our capabilities for advanced rescue incidents instead of relying on our neighboring departments to handle.
Without this tax measure, I believe our staffing crisis will continue to worsen and increase our need to rely on our neighbors to provide our most basic emergency services. Riverside residents deserve so much more from their own city.
This tax will also provide increased staffing to our Police Department as well as improving our investigative abilities with new technology and improving our body and dash camera capabilities. It will make both the Police and Fire Departments almost completely self-sustaining and less reliant on the city general funds in order to operate. 100% of the funds generated by this tax will be used for Police and Fire Department operations, personnel, and capital needs.
Let me first say it is our pleasure to serve our community. The Police Officers of the Riverside Police Department are sworn to uphold the law, but we are dedicated to making the quality of life better for all of our residents. In the near future, you will be asked to vote on a tax increase. I think it’s very important you understand why we need this tax increase and what will be the benefits should the increase pass.
Currently, the Police Department has five officers on two shifts and six officers on two shifts total. We currently struggle with minimum staffing issues on a daily basis. This means we only have three officers working on a shift at one time. The short staff also affects the Investigative Section. Instead of four Detectives to investigate cases, we currently only have three due to staffing shortages. Besides staffing issues, we also have general operating issues. The Department trains every year, but, because of funding, we are doing just a little more than bare minimum unless we can find free training. Fleet management is crucial to Road Patrol, and for two years we couldn’t replace any cruisers. When we did replace cruisers, it was one each in the last two years. That means we have cruisers that are working on their seventh year of service. We have a rotation plan that will never succeed without the funding to make it happen.
The big question is what are we going to do with the money? The money will be used for exactly what I talked about. We are going to hire three more officers. Which will cut down the overtime. This will also allow us to put the fourth Detective back into the Investigation unit, and implement a School Resource/ Community Service Officer. In turn it will also allow the Detectives to focus on more property crimes. The monies will also allow us to train more and become more efficient at our jobs, thus allowing us to do our jobs more effectively and efficiently. It is imperative that we have the resources we need to do our jobs properly. Things like in-car cameras, body cameras, radios and computers only have a certain amount of time before they are worn out, or obsolete and needing replacement. The cruisers wear out and currently with several cruisers working on their seventh year of service it only makes sense that they will cost more in repairs. With the tax increase, we will get back on the regular schedule of swapping out the cruisers after five years. This in turn gives us better equipment and of course cuts down on high repair bills.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the citizens of Riverside for all the support we have received from you. We truly feel we have a great connection to the community, and we strive every day to make it better. We also know that we cannot do this alone, and it truly takes all of us, working together, to obtain our goals.
Chief Frank K. Robinson