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Published: Sunday, 11/4/2012

Cities, agencies, schools seek higher taxes

Question in Delta would hold village council salaries to their current level

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A campaign sign for Issue 3 in a front yard in Findlay. A campaign sign for Issue 3 in a front yard in Findlay.
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Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is asking city voters to think about what they paid for gasoline, electricity, and other essentials back in 1987.

That was the last time the city of Tiffin increased its local income tax rate. On Tuesday, city voters will decide whether to raise the rate from 1.75 percent to 2 percent to make up for lost revenue from the state.

“This tax increase would cost the average person in Tiffin less than 25 cents per day,” the mayor said.

Across the county line, Findlay voters are being asked to make permanent a “temporary” 0.25 percent income tax increase approved three years ago. Like Mr. Montz, Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik said the extra income is needed to offset the drastic cut in local government funds from the state and the elimination of estate tax. 

In Tiffin, the additional 0.25 percent income tax would boost city revenue by an estimated $960,000 a year. If it fails, Mr. Montz said police officers, firefighters, and street department employees would be laid off, the city swimming pool would be closed, and the Fourth of July fireworks and festival would be canceled, among other cuts.

READ MORE: The Blade 2012 Voters Guide

The income tax increases are among a long list of funding questions to be decided by northwest Ohio voters this week.

Bowling Green City Schools have a five-year, 0.75 percent income tax increase on the ballot that would raise an estimated $4.05 million when fully collected in fiscal 2015, said Treasurer Rhonda Melchi.

Woodmore Local Schools are asking voters to renew a 3-mill, five-year permanent improvement levy that is 0.5 mill less than property owners in the district currently pay. The school board had promised to reduce the amount of the levy to offset a 0.5-mill tax approved by voters last March designated for maintenance on the new K-8 building to be built in Woodville.

The levy, which would raise $425,000 a year, would cost the owner of a $100,00 home $91.87 a year -- a decrease of $15.31, Superintendent Linda Bringman said.

In Henry County, the Napoleon City Schools are seeking an additional 3.9-mill levy for operating expenses that would bring in $1.1 million annually for five years.

Superintendent Steve Fogo said the school board decided to seek the property tax after voters defeated a request for an earned income tax in March.

“We’re one of the districts being adversely affected by the loss of tangible personal property tax reimbursements,” he said. “That’s not going away. We’re going to continue to lose a larger and larger sum.”

The Port Clinton City Schools are asking voters to renew a five-year, 2.84-mill operating levy that brings in about $1.7 million a year. If approved, it would continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $87 a year.

In the Fulton County village of Delta, voters will decide whether to keep the salaries of council members at $3,000 a year. Voting yes on the charter amendment would keep the salaries the same and allow village council to determine any future raises. Voting no would mean salaries would increase to $7,200 a year as dictated by the state legislature.

Among the countywide issues to be decided:

The Sandusky County Board of Developmental Disabilities wants voters to approve an additional 2-mill, continuing levy for maintenance and operations of the School of Hope and Sandco Industries.

The Henry County Senior Center is seeking renewal of an 0.8-mill, 5-year levy that supports senior services.

In Seneca County, the Commission on Aging is asking voters to renew a 0.3-mill, five-year levy for senior services. Also, the county’s Mental Health and Recovery Services Board has an 0.8-mill, 5-year renewal on the ballot.

Defiance County is seeking a 0.85-mill, six-year renewal for its Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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