Voters in the city of New Franklin have approved Issue 2, raising the city income tax from 1 percent to 2 percent, which now will allow the city to collect more money for the general fund for road improvements and to keep the police department running efficiently.
In a special election Tuesday, voters unofficially approved the additional 1 percent income tax by a vote of 1,967 for it and 1,321 against - an approval margin of 646 votes.
"This is no time to cut back on the police department … This town has a great safety record," said New Franklin Mayor Al Bollas. "Our firefighters, road workers and administrative workers did a fantastic job helping to pass Issue 2. … And they sacrificed their 1 percent of their pay to get Issue 2 passed. … They knew the importance of this special election."
The 2 percent city income tax, collected from those who work in New Franklin, will generate an estimated $1,050,000 annual beginning Jan. 1, 2017. The city, however, will net about $700,000 annually because council approved an ordinance stating that if Issue 2 was approved, it would remove the 1981, 2.5-mill continuous police levy, which generates about $318,000 annually.
Bollas and city council agreed that they should give property owners relief on their property tax and spread the tax burden more evenly. Green, a neighboring city, already has a 2 percent income tax.
The elimination of the 2.5-mill continuous police levy will be effective Jan. 1, 2016, for the tax year 2016/collection year 2017. The collection of the 2015 levy amounts will take place in 2016.
"Rest assured that the roads will continue to be plowed, the police will be at your doorstep or at the schools when needed, that our EMS will be there when called," Bollas said. "We will do our best to catch up on the road projects. This year to date, New Franklin only completed chip and seal projects … there will be roads paved.
"Let there be no doubt that 60 percent (of voters passing this) was a huge majority in this campaign," Bollas said. "It passed because we gave something back, and we educated the voters on the issue. We reduced their property millage; they are guaranteed police protection and most workers are being taxed elsewhere. … It made sense.
"To the people who voted against the issue … this is a democracy, don’t hold a grudge, Bollas added. "It is time to turn the page and focus on the future of this town. … To those who have to pay the extra 1 percent, please understand our costs are high for services provided to you."