City Council will have a second Strategic Planning meeting on Monday, May 24, 2010 to discuss Mayor Grace's income tax proposal that will increase the income tax to 2%, eliminate the city’s existing 0.5 percent general fund temporary income tax, replace it with a .75% permanent and give the Police Department 1.125 percent of the city’s proposed 2 percent income tax.
These meetings are open to the public and the public is welcome to speak at these meetings. Council has also asked that all affected Department Heads for General Fund departments speak at this meeting to give their personal opinion and concerns about how their department will be impacted or alternatives to consider.
The Law Director's office has been asked to provide additional information about using public money to pay for a tax levy campaign, when such activity is illegal for all public bodies other than charter municipalities, including the legislative history and rationale from the Ohio General Assembly in making such activity illegal for other public bodies. Also under consideration will be whether or not to send this idea to the Charter Review Committee for consideration in creating a change to the City Charter such that the City of Elyria is similarly prohibited from using public funds to pay for elections and campaigns to pass a levy.
I also submitted a referral to consider an independent audit of the Elyria Police Department, which should be referred at the next Council meeting (tomorrow night). The department had a management audit completed in 1979 and Chief Whitely believes that such an audit would be a waste of time now because he feels the department is already operating within the guidelines of the last review. I believe this would be a better use of JEDD funds than supporting a tax levy campaign.