HARTVILLE Following a narrow defeat at the ballot box May 7, Village Council voted 5-1 May 21 to place a 0.5 percent income tax levy for the police and roads departments before voters Nov. 5
The vote authorized Village Solicitor Ron Starkey to draft legislation for the income tax increase, along with legislation to eliminate the village’s 100 percent tax credit to village residents who work outside the village.
The May 7 defeat follows a 1.5 percent income tax request in November 2018 that voters also voted down. Elimination of the tax credit has not been part of the past levy attempts and would be reinstated if the levy passes, Council members said.
Prior to the vote, residents and village employees filled Council chambers and urged Council to take action on the issue.
Police Chief Larry Dordea said his department is working in an unsafe environment and business growth in the village may soon result in “no suitable space to build a police station.” When Councilman Jim Sullivan suggested the issue be put back on the finance committee agenda, Dordea said, “We have had a professional space needs and costs analysis. What more are you going to say in a finance meeting? This paralysis by analysis has got to end.”
Council also agreed to keep the ballot language similar to that of the May 7 request by not specifically naming the police station and roads earmarks. Councilwoman Kelly Reis said the ballot language should remain consistent and she is confident the levy can pass, given that it failed by fewer than 80 votes in May.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams agreed that if voters can be presented with “a clear simple message” about the need for the levy, it can be successful.
Councilman Jeff Kozy suggested putting an expiration date on the levy and Councilwoman Bev Green, who voted against placing the issue back on the ballot, said that after this many attempts, she believes the voters have made their wishes known.
Council also approved an amendment to the village’s agreement with the city of Canton, allowing water lines built by private developers in the village to be part of the public water system; an annexation agreement with Lake Township for a 1.1 acre property on State Route 619; and a motion by Reis for Starkey to draft legislation prohibiting putting lawn clippings in and other debris in roadways.
Starkey noted that similar regulations prohibiting road obstructions exist in the Ohio Basic Code. He said he would use this information as a starting point for Council’s more specific request.