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Income tax boost to be on ballot in Swanton

SWANTON - Voters here will get a chance to reconsider an increase in the village's income tax.

Council voted last night to return the 0.5-percent additional income tax levy to the ballot in the May election. The levy was rejected 477-392 on Nov. 6.

Officials said the only other option is to increase water and sewer rates, possibly doubling them.

The additional income tax would be for capital improvements. “The money is primarily needed for our sewer projects and the water treatment plant project,” said John Syx, village administrator.

Sewer separation work is ongoing in the village of 3,307 residents, and plans call for infrastructure improvements in the business district. “We've also got a water tower that's 70 years old. It's had leaks but it's been repaired with a major patch,” Mr. Syx said. “It's all right now, but you can only patch a water tower so much.”

Sewer separations and wastewater treatment improvements are mandated by the state, so the capital improvement money is necessary now, Mr. Syx said.

“We once figured that without the additional tax money, the combined water and sewer rates would have to go up by 100 to 110 percent to pay for repair and sewer work we absolutely must do,” he said.

“However it gets paid for, we're required by the state to do the projects,” Mr. Syx said.

Mayor Tandy Grubbs said council hopes voters will better understand the issue by May. “There are different opinions on why the levy failed,” he said. “It may be that it wasn't understood properly, or maybe there were just too many tax issues with the school levy here and the EMS levy county-wide.” Voters passed those levies.

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