Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy New Year, Time to Discuss New Income Taxes

You probably saw this coming a long time ago, with all of the rhetoric out of City Hall over the past year or so.  There has been discussion about the Estate Tax going away, cuts to the Local Government Fund that continue to impact the budget, the article in the Plain Dealer about how this area is #1 in the nation for job loss from November 2012 to November 2013, the stories about companies moving out of Elyria, the pending loss of the SAFER Grant that funds over 20 firefighter salaries and the pending loss of the COPS Grant that funds several police officers as well.

You've heard about steps Elyria has taken to reduce its expenditures, such as contract reviews that have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars, renegotiation of insurance rates and premiums, electric and gas utility savings and the State Performance Audit that was supposed to save the City lots of money (update to be announced with the Mayor's State of the City Address on February 14).

With the continued failure to generate jobs in Elyria, the declining assistance from other income sources, the City is left with some choices as it develops its budget for 2014.  One of the questions recently posed by Mayor Brinda is whether or not to put a new tax on the ballot.

Residents passed Issue 6, which changed the definition of a Regular Municipal Election to include primary elections and general elections. As you probably suspected when the City pushed for this change, this now allows the City to put a new proposed income tax on the ballot this May.  The deadline by which to do so is February 2, according to our election requirements.

Last night, at the Council meeting, Mayor Brinda and Safety Service Director Siwierka distributed, for the first time, potential scenarios with the elimination of stimulus monies (SAFER, COPS), which were provided at the time of the economy crash in order to get us through the recession.  These scenarios include an evaluation as to the impact of a .25% income tax increase, which would take the City to a 2% income tax rate.  This presentation is below:

Council will begin to discuss whether or not to seek an income tax increase on the May ballot, probably starting its discussion at the next Strategic Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 21.  If you have questions, thoughts, suggestions or would like to submit input, feel free to contact myself, the Mayor's office, the Council Clerk's office or any City Council member (contact information available in the Available Documents section of this web page).  I have also included a poll on this site for quick, general feedback on this topic.

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