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Published: Wednesday, 11/7/2012

0.25% income taxes fail in Findlay, Tiffin

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Voters in Findlay and Tiffin on Tuesday rejected 0.25 percent income tax requests that city officials said were vital to maintaining basic city services.

First-term Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik faced fierce opposition on the issue from a group calling itself Citizens for Findlay, which claimed the tax was sold to voters three years ago as as a temporary measure but that city officials had done little to reduce expenses so that the tax could expire.

Ms. Mihalik countered that the city did not foresee the drastic cuts in local government funds from the state and the elimination of estate tax revenue. Findlay was seeking to make the 0.25 percent permanent.

“We definitely are disappointed in the outcome, but ultimately, as we said all along, we will execute the plan that has been developed over the last few months for the without-tax scenario and respect the will of the voters without a problem,” Ms. Mihalik said last night.

She said the planned cuts, including a reduction of firefighters and police officers, would go into effect “in the very near future.”

With Tuesday’s loss, Findlay’s current local income tax rate of 1.25 percent will revert to 1 percent.

Tiffin, which was seeking its first income tax increase in 25 years, also faces immediate layoffs of police, fire, and street department personnel after voters declined to raise the local income tax rate of 1.75 percent to 2 percent. The city also will not open the swimming pool at Hedges-Boyer Park next summer and will not fund the Fourth of July fireworks.

The tax increase would have brought in an estimated $960,000 a year.

Also Tuesday, voters in the Bowling Green city school district rejected a five-year, 0.75 percent income tax increase that would have raised an estimated $4.05 million when fully collected in fiscal 2015.

The Woodmore Local Schools system, which draws voters from Sandusky and Ottawa counties, easily renewed a 3-mill, five-year permanent improvement levy that is 0.5 mill less than they 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 will raise $425,000 a year, will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $91.87 a year, a decrease of $15.31.

In Henry County, voters in Napoleon city schools rejected an additional 3.9-mill levy for operating expenses that would have brought in $1.1 million annually for five years.

Port Clinton city school voters agreed to renew a five-year, 2.84-mill operating levy that brings in about $1.7 million a year. It costs the owner of a $100,000 home $87 a year.

In the Fulton County village of Delta, voters approved a charter amendment that will keep the salaries of council members at $3,000 a year and allow village council to determine any future raises.

Sandusky County voters overwhelmingly approved an additional 2-mill, continuing levy the county Board of Developmental Disabilities had sought for maintenance and operations of the School of Hope and Sandco Industries.

Henry County voters renewed a 0.8-mill, five-year levy for the county’s Senior Center.

In Seneca County, voters renewed both a 0.3-mill, five-year levy for the Commission on Aging and an 0.8-mill, five-year renewal for the county’s Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. Both passed by comfortable margins.

Defiance County voters agreed to renew a 0.85-mill, six-year levy for the county’s Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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