Safety & City Services FAQ’s
As we continue on with our community engagement effort, we have recognized that some common questions come up routinely. In an effort to communicate the information we get from residents out to the rest of the community, we have created this list of “FAQ’s”. We understand many people have individual or unique questions, and we want to hear from you through any of the available methods. Knowing that, this list is not all-inclusive, but we will continue to build it as we frequently hear questions. Thanks to everyone for reaching out and helping us guide our informational efforts!
Q: What is the state of the city’s financial situation?
A: In 2008, the City of Huber Heights responded to citizen’s desires and allowed for a .25% earned income tax rate to rescind by vote of the citizens. At the time, there was more than $12 million in cash reserves in the city’s operating reserve fund. Since then, the city has been forced to deplete the reserve at an average rate of $2 million dollars per year in order to maintain current levels of safety and city services. Voters rejected an attempt to raise new revenue in 2012. Maintaining current service levels, the reserve fund will be depleted in 2015, and the city will need to raise additional revenue through an earned income tax increase or forced to drastically reduce city services.
Q: Why hasn’t the city informed the residents of this financial situation?
A: The City of Huber Heights is dedicated to being open, honest and transparent. In 2012, the city went to the voters with a tax increase that would have generated enough revenue to maintain current service levels preventing the depletion of the cash reserve; however, the voters turned it down. Now that we are at the crossroads, we are informing residents of the choice that they will need to make: raise new revenue through an earned income tax or experience reduced safety and city services.
Q: If the city knew it was spending its cash reserves, why is the music center being built?
A: The music center is funded with a projected payment plan consisting of only Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues, and no general fund revenues. The music center is currently being built using short-term notes (less than 1% interest) to finance the construction which will save the city money on interest charges as opposed to obtaining bonds at the current time. Once the construction is finished, and the total costs are verified, long-term financing will be sought. The payments on the music center will then be made from the TIF funds. TIF funds can only be used on infrastructure and public facilities, not on safety or city services, personnel, or operational expenses (i.e. they can be used to build a building, but not used to pay for staffing or operating the building). Again, no general fund money is being used to build the music center. A separate fund will be created to operate the music center. The operational expenses are expected to be covered through a variety of projections to include: sponsorships, naming rights, operating revenue, and the terms of the operations agreement. In our estimates, there is no projected loss when including all the revenues available generated by the music center. Again, this includes naming rights deal, sponsorships, etc. The operating revenue is difficult to project at this time; however, it is proportioned based on the number of events held. In other words, the sales of tickets, concessions, etc. for the events held are projected to financially support the cost of operating the facility.
An independent feasibility validation study conducted by the nationally recognized Conventions Sports & Leisure details all projected revenue and economic development impacts, and can be viewed by clicking here.
Q: How was the construction contract for the music center awarded?
A: The city put out a request for a bid from qualified and experienced building companies that have constructed similar types of buildings in the past. Once all qualified bids were received, the city awarded the contract to the lowest and best bidder.
Q: How does the cost of our music center compare to the one built in Cincinnati?
A: The buildings may look similar; however, there are considerable design and structural differences. In addition, there was more infrastructure required to build our music center. The PNC Pavilion was built in 2008 as an addition to an existing site, using already owned land and infrastructure. Our project had to include costs such as the purchase of the land, site work, the parking lot, concession buildings, bathrooms, a courtyard area, landscaping, and additional exterior building costs. Considering the differences in scope as well as the difference of construction costs compared to 6 years ago, the cost of our music center cannot be directly compared to PNC Pavilion.
Q: What is the projected economic development impact of the music center?
A: The music center was designed and built to become an economic catalyst for Huber Heights. The goal and mission of the music center is to provide a top-class amenity, add to the cultural arts, and bring people into the area to spark additional development and economic benefit to our community. This concept has already been proven to work, as a major economic boost has been attracted in even before the music center is completed! GoodSports hotel and fieldhouse will be breaking ground in the Spring, and will bring the world of sports tourism to our community. Their project is expected to bring well over $100K each year in additional revenue just at their facility. That does not include the economic benefit to our existing and future restaurants, hotels, and other service and entertainment businesses. There is a growing flow of interest from other significant development that will positively impact the economic growth and development of Huber Heights. An independent feasibility validation study conducted by the nationally recognized Conventions Sports & Leisure details all projected revenue and economic development impacts, and can be viewed by clicking here.
Q: What will the music center’s impact on our city’s safety services be?
A: There will be a demand for some additional safety services; however, many of the needs will be met through the operations of the music center itself. For example, internal security will be hired by the operator and will be paid as part of the operations of the event. In addition, any extra costs for specific events will be billed to that event. Much like any other activity within the community such as festivals, parades, fireworks, etc., we have good plans in place to manage the increased event-specific demands.
Q: Why did the city opt to do a phone poll/why was I not called?
A: The City of Huber Heights is committed to a long-term communications program with its residents where they can voice their opinions and concerns. Similar to a gallop poll, it is logistically impossible to contact everyone in the city to participate. However, the phone poll does allow for the polling of both landlines and cell phones, with representation from all ages and wards throughout the city. The information gathered is simply to serve as a baseline for future discussions. The results have been posted to the city’s website, and all residents are encouraged to participate in any upcoming community outreach meetings.
Q: Where can I view specific information regarding the city’s financial status?
A: Our commitment is to keep up-to-date, factual information available for our residents. We are always open for requests, and we are continuously building the information made available on the city website. The city’s financial information, including annual reports and budget expenditures, can be viewed on our website by visiting the Finance Department's page.
Q: If the city is forced to reduce safety and city services, what specifically will be cut?
A: There are many dynamics to projections and estimates; however, none are to the scale of $2.3 million. The City needs to identify $2.3million in increased revenue or additional reductions in expenses. Currently, the police and fire budgets consist of 90% expenditures for personnel, and 10% to operations. In other words, a $2.3million cut involves reducing personnel which results in drastic cuts to service levels. Below is a view of projected cuts and reductions to accommodate the loss of $2.3million:
- City Hall $525,000- Reductions in a variety of support services to public safety personnel and operations.
- Parks & Recreation / Senior Center $225,000- Loss of seasonal personnel who maintain parks during active seasons which will result in closing of park amenities due to lack of maintenance and upkeep.
- Fire/EMS $723,500- Significant reduction of service delivery due to loss of 9 fire/EMS personnel in addition to currently vacant positions.
- Police $797,000- Significant reduction of service delivery due to loss of 7 police personnel in addition to currently vacant positions.
Q: Why is the city saying that they won’t build the new firehouse unless they are able to raise new revenue when the funds for the firehouse were passed in a previous tax issue?
A: The city has been working diligently as the funds for construction have been accruing to secure a potential location for the new firehouse. With the reduction in revenue since 2008, the project plan has been evaluated against fiscal responsibility. Although funds have been accrued to build the structure, without additional revenue the city would not have the funds available to staff the firehouse if it was built. Without having the revenue to ensure staffing levels beyond 2015, and to remain fiscally responsible, the city is holding off on the construction process. However, if additional revenue is created, the existing plans will be immediately finalized, and the project will be able to begin.
Q: Why is the city talking about raising taxes instead of making do with less money?
A: The city is dedicated to serving its residents with the level of services they desire. The current level of safety and city services is unsustainable at current revenue levels. Because of this, the city is allowing its residents to decide if they would prefer to maintain current safety and city services by voting to pass an earned income tax increase, or reduce/cut safety and city services by voting to deny an earned income tax increase.
Q: What exactly is taxed in an earned income tax?
A: An earned income tax is exactly that; tax on income that is earned through employment or business operations. Retired senior citizens and those unemployed are not taxed. The following items are not taxed in an earned income tax:
- Capital gains
- Annuity income
- Income from estates
- Social security benefits
Q: Are you proposing a temporary or permanent earned income tax?
A: We have heard from residents that some people want a permanent tax due to voter fatigue, while others would prefer a five or ten year earned income tax. No decision has been made, as we are continuing to listen to the opinions of our residents.
Q: What cuts has the city already made, prior to the discussion of the earned income tax?
A: Since 2008, the City has had a reduction of more than $13.7million in revenue due to governmental changes. That includes .25% reduction in earnings tax and elimination of the local government funding from the State. In addition, the effects of the economy has provided an additional loss of $8million of revenue. Since 2008. The City has managed the $22million reduction in revenue by operational cuts over the past 6 years; averaged to over $3.6 million per year. Today, the City is operating at the same budget request dollars as 2008 and is in fact maintaining more with less. There has only been an overall 1.6% increase in the budget since 2008 while managing the $22million reduction in revenue, increased operational costs (NOT expenditures), and maintaining acceptable service levels. After making significant operational cuts and reductions of over 20 full time personnel through attrition, the City has been subsidizing the cost of safety and city services from the reserve fund at an average of $2million per year. Even considering the significant cuts made in the past 6 years, and while maintaining the current service levels, the cost of those service levels is higher than the revenue brought in. Here are the differences from 2009 through 2014 (budgeted) of revenue brought in versus the cost of current operations:
- 2009 $2.8million
- 2010 $1.4million
- 2011 $3.2million
- 2012 $2.8million
- 2013 $2million
- 2014 $2.5million (budgeted)
At the end of 2015, it is projected the City will not be able to fund a 2016 budget at the current operational service levels; therefore an increase in revenue is needed, or a reduction in personnel and services will take place.
Q: What was the recent action City Council passed about putting a tax levy on the ballot?
A: Recently City Council passed a motion to authorize the City Manager and City Attorney to take the necessary steps to prepare a ballot measure for a proposed city earned income tax increase for November 4, 2014. This does not mean ballot language has been developed and approved. Votes to adopt specific ballot language for the issue will come at a later time. The recent motion authorized the continued development of the ballot language as we engage the community to identify priorities and terms.
Q: How can I participate in having my voice heard by city officials?
A: You can view all upcoming community engagement sessions on the city’s website at www.hhoh.org Community meetings and city ward meetings will be announced on our website, Facebook page and local media. Stay tuned!
Use these helpful links to located local businesses, government agencies, sports and recreation and more.
- Governmental Sites
- Local Businesses
- Businesses and Economic Development
- General Interests
The Huber Heights Police/ Communications Division is scheduled for an on-site assessment as part of a program to achieve accreditation by verifying it meets professional standards.
Agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session, by telephone or by written letter.
- Monday, April 14, 2014
- 4:30 PM
- Police Community Room- 6121 Taylorsville Road
- Or call 937-237-3581 on April 14th between 1:00-3:00PM to leave your comments via phone
- Or submit written comments to Commission of Accreditation for Law Enforcement, Inc (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote BLVD., Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155
Click here to read the official Public Notice and learn more details.
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There will be a special election by resolution issue on the May 6 ballot to allow the sale of spirituous liquor on Sunday at the Music Center. This measure is necessary to allow for the specific address of the Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd, to add wine and mixed beverage sales on Sunday. Currently, the address is permitted to sell beer, wine, and mixed beverages Monday through Saturday, as well as beer only on Sunday. Click here to view the official ballot language.
The ballot issue, which will appear as Issue #7 is a City-wide vote to allow the Sunday liquor sales at the Music Center, classified as a Community Facility. Unlike other establishments, since the music center is a community facility, the entire community must be provided the local option vote. In other words, this is not a precinct wide vote for Sunday sales, nor is it a City wide vote to allow Sunday sales throughout either the entire city or the voting precinct; this vote is specifically for the Music Center.
The ballot issue (attached) reads as follows:
“Shall the sale of beer and intoxicating liquor be permitted on days of the week other than Sunday and between the hours of eleven a.m. and midnight on Sunday, at The Music Center at the Heights, a community facility as defined by section 4301.01 of the Revised Code, and located at 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights, Ohio?”
A majority “Yes” vote is necessary for passage. Accordingly, a “Yes” vote is in favor of the sale of liquor on Sunday in addition to the already approved sales Monday through Saturday. A “no” vote would defeat the local option, and prevent the sale of wine and liquor on Sunday between the hours of 11:00am and midnight. If the issue is defeated with a majority “No” vote, there is a three (3) year statutory prohibition from the same question being placed on the ballot.
Statutory ballot language can often be confusing, and this particular language appears to be an overall approval of beer, wine and liquor at the site. The City wants to make sure residents are informed in detail about the specifics and details within the ballot issue beyond the ballot language. Again, regardless of the result of the vote; beer, wine and liquor is permitted for sale Monday through Saturday. Sunday sales are currently limited to beer. This ballot issue asks if Sunday sales should also include wine and liquor at the Music Center.
Please contact City Hall with any questions.
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Planning for Active Transportation in the Miami Valley
The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, MVRPC, has extensive bike trails available through out the Region
Check out their website for trail information, maps, safe cycling tips and a comprehensive plan.
The City's website has a new look.
Click here to read the full Press Release
Often times, the website is the first impression or only impression a government entity makes on a potential and/or current resident, business or visitors.
The new design:
- Increases cyber security because of an updated, more secure content management software
- Allows City staff to make minor or major content changes at any time from any location
- Streamlines the navigation choices, making it easier to find content
- Is a Responsive Web Design (RWD)
- A fresh, modern design.
Users will still find: