The West Chester Borough Council will discuss a proposed ordinance that would increase the earned income tax rate in borough .25 percent at its November meeting, it decided Wednesday night.
The decision to discuss the tax hike, which passed in a 4-2 vote, caused some contention between council members and members of the public, who all had different opinions on the necessity of the increase.
The borough’s current earned income tax sits at 1 percent.
Council Member John Manion explained his support for the tax, saying that funds raised could go towards paying down the borough’s $14 million in unfunded pension funds.
“No one up here wants to raise taxes, but this bill has to be paid,” he said. “No one wants to be a tax-raiser, but if you love this town and you understand its regional and cultural pull … it behooves us to do this.”
Council Member Jordan Norley spoke in opposition of the tax, voting to not bring the ordinance to public discussion at the November meeting and instead advocating finding the funds to pay the borough’s pension’s within its still-developing 2014 budget.
“Every year we don’t have to raise taxes, we shouldn’t,” he said, nothing that he felt there were “soft numbers” in the initial budget presentation.
Norley and council member Steve Shinn were the two votes against further discussion.
Council member Thomas Paxon said he was “on the fence” about the idea of raising the earned income tax, but that he wanted to have the discussion to allow the borough’s public a chance to weigh in.
“I want citizen feedback,” he said. “We’re up here for the residents.”
The proposed .25 percent increase in earned income tax would bring in over $900,000 to the borough, according to council estimates.
The tax hike will be up for public discussion at the council’s November meeting, scheduled for Nov 20.