Unofficial election results show that 67 percent of voters opposed the half-percent income tax increase, but supported the Hartville Fire Department's levy request.
HARTVILLE Village officials knew it was risky to put an income tax levy on the same ballot as an additional fire levy and the Stark County District Library's tax request.
The gamble didn't pay off Tuesday as unofficial election results show that 67 percent of voters opposed the 0.5 percent increase that would have raised residents’ income tax from 1 percent to 1.5 percent. Voters did approve the Hartville Fire Department's additional, continuous 1-mill fire/EMS levy. The Stark County District Library's request failed.
This would have been the first income-tax increase in the village since it was enacted in 1968.
Village officials had planned to use the 1.5 percent tax to maintain operations, services and equipment; fund police operations, including the construction of the department's new building; and allocate funds to the street department for resurfacing.
Mayor Cynthia Billings said she will confer with council members to see what else the village can do to generate money.
"The bottom line is the two things – the police building and roads – we do need to get done," said Billings, calling the police department's current space unsafe and impractical.
She said one option could be removing the tax credit for the Hartville residents who work outside the village. She estimated that 75 percent of village's 3,020 residents work outside Hartville.
Hartville voter Mary Hensler had wanted the income tax to pass.
“Stuff doesn’t come free, you have to pay for it,” she said. “If I want better roads and I want people to be employed and to help me out when I need it, like the police and fire, I have to be willing to pay them.”
Unofficial election results show that 54 percent of voters approved the 1-mill additional levy for the Hartville Fire Department. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $35 a year, and will generate an additional $81,023 for the department. Fire officials have said the money will help the department maintain its current level of service and staffing.
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