HARTVILLE A controversial proposal to eliminate the Hartville’s 100 percent income tax credit for residents who live in the village and work elsewhere was tabled Dec. 18, while proposed legislation to place a 1.5 percent income tax levy on the May 2019 ballot was approved by village council.
Following the Nov. 6 defeat of a 1.5 percent income tax increase earmarked for road repairs and the construction of a new police station, village council introduced the proposed ordinance to eliminate the income tax credit, which was estimated to generate roughly $300,000 annually.
After a Dec. 6 finance committee meeting with all of council present, Councilman Jim Sullivan proposed an eight-step plan of action to “get people to back (the May ballot issue),” Sullivan said. The plan calls for forming a citizens’ action committee and a “cost justification process” for project.
Should the tax increase fail a second time, Sullivan said, the “desperate situation” with needed road and police department upgrades could necessitate the elimination of the tax credit.
Councilman Jeff Miller called the plan a “logical step.”
“If it passes, yay. If not, we are back where we started,” Miller said.
Councilwoman Kelly Ries added, “And the public will be aware this time.”
The second attempt at the income tax, Sullivan said, will not include specific earmarks. Police Chief Larry Dordea expressed concern with this aspect of the plan, stating that “I’m hoping that we’re not taking a step backward.”
Likewise, Mayor Cynthia Billings said she hopes Council’s “cost justification” process will not unduly hamper the village’s ability to conduct day-to-day operations.
Council’s vote authorizes Solicitor Ron Starkey to prepare legislation for the income tax increase request for first reading at the first regular council meeting of 2019.
- Council also approved the village’s $4.5 million 2019 operating budget along with a one-year, $1,816.80 per-month renewal of the village’s police dispatching agreement with the Stark County Sheriff, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Fiscal Officer Scott Varney said the contract reflects a $25 per month increase over 2018.
- A $6,187 bid from the Brenkle Family Trust for a 2.67 acre parcel of unbuildable village owned land was accepted by council. Councilwoman Bev Green abstained from the vote due to a conflict of interest.
Council also announced the first meeting of 2019 will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 2.