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Rossford regrouping after latest roads levy defeat

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Road repairs and how to fund them have been a hot topic Rossford for years.

THE BLADE
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For the second year in a row, Rossford officials are going back to the drawing board to fund road improvements after another failed levy.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a 0.25 percentage point income tax increase Tuesday, with nearly 60 percent of them checking the “no’ box. Income tax rates would have risen to 2.5 percent had the measure passed.

Mayor Neil MacKinnon wasn’t surprised at the result.

“Whenever you ask people to pay more money, it’s an uphill climb,” he said. “I’m going to send it back to committee and see what council thinks, and maybe put it back out there. Instead of it being a permanent tax, maybe we’d renew it every five years or so.”

Mayor MacKinnon said conversations with friends, family, and constituents, as well as social media fodder suggest a renewable levy would receive more support.

Bob Densic, who won one of the city council seats on the line Tuesday, said many residents told him they opposed the tax increase.

“When I was out campaigning, it was pretty clear it was going to go down in defeat,” Mr. Densic said. “It was all about the bigger picture and the cost of living in Rossford.”

Mr. Densic has a three-part approach he plans to bring to council: fund a preventative maintenance program, micro-surfacing instead of the more expensive mill-and-fill, and breaking away from installing new curbs, gutters, and sidewalks on every new road.

He is also in favor of scrapping the $2.5 million roundabout project set for the intersection of Lime City Road, Colony Road, and State Rt. 65, and using those funds to instead improve existing roads.

Council held multiple special meetings throughout the year to weigh options for generating funds for streets. Other options considered were reducing the city’s reserve fund and implementing storm water and sewer assessments.

In January, 2016, council voted to slash income tax reciprocity for residents who work in other cities from 100 percent to 50 percent. Mr. Densic led an effort to gather signatures and force the issue onto the ballot in November of that year, where it was soundly defeated.

Mayor MacKinnon said he believes the options previously discussed by council may be brought up again.

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

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