Thursday, Sep 20, 2018
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LOCAL ISSUES

Heated tax, pipeline disputes go to voters

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The back-and-forth over Rossford’s controversial income tax reciprocity ordinance is finally coming to an end.

Council voted 4-3 in January to cut Rossford’s tax reciprocity in half — to 50 percent — for residents who work in other municipalities. The revenue increase created by the move is designated for street repairs and other infrastructure projects.

The move was met with immediate criticism from affected residents. About one-third of voters in Rossford work elsewhere.

Citizen group Rossford Voters’ Voice, led by Bob Densic, collected more than 800 signatures protesting the decision. 

The city initially refused to put the issue on the ballot, citing a portion of the Ohio Constitution that says annual taxes are not subject to referendum.

After a nearly six-month court battle, Rossford officials decided to settle with the group and let voters decide the issue on Tuesday’s ballot. 

Part of the settlement called for collection of the additional tax money to cease immediately.

If it stays in place, the measure would raise roughly $750,000 yearly and affect about 2,100 residents. Those with a $50,000 annual salary would pay an additional $560 per year.

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Waterville

Protecting Air for Waterville is a citizen group trying to keep a proposed gas pipeline from running through town.

More than 400 signatures were collected to place Issue 3 on the ballot, which would establish a community bill of rights. The ordinance would ban gas infrastructure within city limits.

The proposed NEXUS pipeline would cross the Maumee River in Waterville with a compressor station built in Waterville Township. 

Heavy concern has been voiced over emissions, especially close to schools.

NEXUS wants to build the project in collaboration with Texas Eastern Transmission, which operates a major pipeline in several states. 

Both are subsidiaries of Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp.

The companies plan to pump natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale regions of eastern Ohio and West Virginia to markets in Ohio, Michigan, and Canada.

Oregon

Oregon residents will decide on a curfew after more than 1,600 signatures were gathered in support.

The ordinance would forbid anyone younger than 18 from being in public places between midnight and 6 a.m. unless attending or traveling to or from educational or religious events, or if a job requires it. 

Minors would be forbidden to walk or congregate in streets “unless accompanied by a parent, guardian, custodian, or other person having legal care and custody of such minor” under the ordinance

Parents and guardians would be subject to $150 fines for each offense.

Councilmen Sandy Bihn and Kathleen Pollauf introduced a curfew ordinance this year, but it was rejected by a 5-2 council vote in March. 

Ms. Bihn said neighborhoods along Starr Avenue and Wheeling Street are the source of complaints of loitering juveniles.

Contact Jay Skebba at: jskebba@theblade.com, 419-376-9414, or on Twitter @JaySkebbaBlade.

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