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(Video) Issue 3 set for May 2 vote

Refunds mean city residents would pay same

By Eric Marotta | Editor Published: April 19, 2017 12:00 AM
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MACEDONIA -- The city is returning to voters for more money, only this time, it would be non-residents who work in the city paying the increase.

If approved, Issue 3 on the May 2 ballot would bring the city an estimated $2 million per year, according to city estimates. The measure is a 0.5 percent income tax for general improvements, capital improvements, maintenance, current operating expenses, road improvements, and the city parks and recreation center, according to the ballot language.

The city's tax rate is presently 2 percent, but a 0.25 percent income tax approved 20 years ago to pay for the recreation center and city operations is expiring in June. Issue 3 would set the tax rate at 2.25 percent, but residents would be eligible for a refund, meaning they would continue to pay Macedonia 2 percent.

Even Macedonia Councilor Sylvia Hanneken, who has opposed Issue 3, as well as two proposed tax increases that failed last November, says the city's tax rate should be at least 2 percent.

In an April 13 discussion of the issue with the News Leader and Mayor Joe Migliorini, Hanneken said the city needs the keep the 0.25 percent that is expiring.

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Hanneken said, "I believe that a quarter percent dedicated to the issues that related to our needs for capital, our needs for road repair, our needs for vehicles, our needs for building maintenance I believe that's the way we should go and we should continue our 2 percent tax which is what we've been paying."

Migliorini says cuts in services will be necessary if the issue does not pass, including deferred road maintenance and repair, the closure of some roads and the elimination of free services for low-income seniors including garbage pick up, snow plowing, gutter cleaning and reduced lunch fees at the city's senior center. Winter snow plowing, and fall leaf pick up would be reduced and programs would be eliminated including the mulch and branch drop off, tool rental, community room rental and the 2018 Spirit of Macedonia Fun Fest.

Also, Migliorini said that without money to subsidize the operation of the Macedonia Family Recreation Center, the facility would be forced to close within 18 months when its fund runs dry.

The facility's operation had been subsidized each year with $350,000 to $400,000 from the expiring 0.25 percent income tax, which had also financed the building's construction.

If Issue 3 is approved, it would enable the recreation center to stay open and preserve the programs listed as being in danger of cuts.

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Migliorini says the city would also be able fix as many as 40 roads, as the city would be able to use a portion of its proceeds to finance $20 million in construction.

No road work is provided for in this year's budget.

According to Migliorini, the city's revenue was down around $150,000 last year, and is projected to be down again this year. Also, the city has lost another $550,000 per year in revenue from the state, tangible and estate taxes. He said the city has had to restore positions in the police and other departments that were cut years ago, and also spent money on deferred maintenance in the parks and at city hall.

The Ohio auditor's office has also confirmed the city is in need of revenue on a "fiscal report card" released in Janary. According to the state, the city's revenue has not kept paces with expenses, earning it a grade of "critical" in that area.

Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433

emarotta@recordpub.com


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