HARTVILLE Voters will see a 0.5 percent income tax levy to fund road projects and a new police facility on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. The village currently has a 1 percent income tax.
An ordinance amending the village income tax ordinance to remove a tax credit for residents living in the village and working outside the elsewhere, was also approved by Village Council.
Should the 0.5 percent income tax pass, council members have pledge to reinstate the tax credit, allowing residents who work outside the village to only pay the 0.5 percent increase.
Mayor Cynthia Billings said the need for street maintenance and a new police facility has been the primary driver for Council’s decision to place the increase on the ballot.
“Everywhere else, we are fine - I don’t want folks thinking we are not doing well financially,” Billings said. “But I just encourage people to go see the (current) police building. We really need a new facility.”
Meanwhile, the income tax increase – the village’s first since 1968, if it should pass – has failed twice at the ballot box in the past year, in November 2018 and again in May 2019.
Billings said the village’s options become murkier should voters fail to support the levy a third time.
“If it doesn’t pass, the issues are not going away,” Billings said. “So what do we do then? That is a really good question and it is not really something that we have talked about.”
Councilman Jim Sullivan added that while he is in support of the income tax levy, he is concerned that voters have not supported it thus far.
“The problem is, we have asked voters four times now and four times they have said no,” Sullivan said. “Even though the last time it was close. If it doesn’t pass, it’s a matter of going back to the budget and looking at ways to tighten our belt even more.”