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Published: Tuesday, 8/31/2010

Northwood council mulls dropping payroll levy

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Northwood residents may not be voting on a tax increase in November after all.

At its meeting last week, City Council authorized its attorney to draft an ordinance removing a three-year, 0.25 percent payroll tax increase from the ballot.

The measure was adopted at the request of Councilman Edward Schimmel, who said the city's shrunken tax receipts were slowly improving, and he believed raising the city's payroll tax to 1.75 percent was unnecessary.

Mr. Schimmel said he had yet to speak to a Northwood voter who supported the tax hike, which would generate about $500,000 annually if adopted.

The deadline to remove the issue from absentee ballots at minimal cost to the city is Sept. 10.

This gives council time to vote on the matter at its Sept. 9 meeting.

The issue could come up for discussion at its committee of the whole meeting tomorrow.

The vote last week was 5-1, with Councilman David Gallaher absent.

The dissenting vote was cast by Michael Myers, who said after the meeting the financially pinched city had laid off personnel and cut costs and needed the additional revenue.

"We've laid off police officers. We've taken money from capital improvements and used it as general operating funds. At least give people the opportunity to vote on it," he said.

Mayor Mark Stoner reported that 2010 income tax collections as of Aug. 23 were $2,485,638.

That is $54,985 or 2.2 percent less than the amount collected up to Aug. 31 of last year.

If this trend continued, the city would need to cut spending by $220,915 in 2010, the mayor said.

About 70 percent of this reduction would be in the general fund.

Income tax collections through July 31 were $2,064,505.

That was a decrease of $159,349 or 7.2 percent, from the same period in 2009.

Mr. Stoner reported Northwood Court collected $12,994.94 in fines, forfeitures, and miscellaneous costs in July.

In other business:

• Council approved the mayor's appointment of Edward Burns of Zepplin Court to fill a term on the planning commission expiring Dec. 31, 2012.

• The mayor informed council that Kevin Repeta had resigned as a Northwood police sergeant effective Aug. 3 and Craig Kohring had been appointed chairman of the planning commission for the remainder of the year.

• Mayor Stoner read a proclamation honoring the Northwood Renegades boys baseball team.

• Council adopted an ordinance providing for assessments for street lighting and storm drainage in various subdivisions.

• Council approved a request from the Northwestern Water and Sewer District and transferred to it ownership of a fire hydrant at Fire Station 1, 2100 Tracy Rd.

Contact Carl Ryan at:

carlryan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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