Income tax could be coming to city of Wyoming

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of Wyoming is considering a proposal to put an income tax on the May 2022 ballot.

The income tax would be up to 1% for residents and .5% for nonresidents. At the same time, the proposal would lower the city’s property tax millage from 11.9 to 5.0 by 2024.  

Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt says the move would generate an additional $6 million in revenue annually.  

WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?

The city says the funds would go toward the fire department, the police department and the parks department.  

“We want to be a more proactive police force. We want to be a more proactive fire department and we want to be able to help our citizens,” Holt said. “Be available for our citizens more often.”

Holt says 27 firefighter positions would be added. The city says calls for service have increased 44% from 4,655 in 2003 to 6,684 in 2019. 

Wyoming says the city has seen the number of paid on-call firefighters drop significantly due to the increased training requirements for firefighters. The city says there are currently seven paid on call firefighters, compared to 38 in 2003.

Current minimum staffing “does not provide enough Wyoming firefighters on any shift to safely enter a structure fire,” Holt wrote in a document he drafted about the proposal.

The city says firefighters are forced to enter a burning building without back-up or to wait, which could cause the loss of life or property.  

The city says it is heavily reliant on mutual aid support from surrounding communities. City records show Wyoming received mutual aid from other department 133 times in 2020.

If the additional staff is added, minimum staffing per shift will move from seven to 13, according to the city. This would allow two fire stations that are currently vacant to be staffed.  

Fourteen police department positions will also be funded. Holt says this will allow the city to shift focus from a reactive approach to a proactive approach.

Holt says in the last five years, Wyoming has seen a steady increase in violent crime. From 2015 to 2020 there was a 65% increase in violent crimes reported. Holt says there are 1.2 officers per 1,000 residents right now, which continues to fall below the national average of 2.4 and the average of cities the same size as Wyoming which is 1.5. 

Parks will receive $600,000 in additional annual capital funding according to the city.  

Wyoming City Council will vote on the issue at the next meeting on Sept. 20. If passed, the issue will go on the May 2022 ballot for the voters to decide.  

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