Income tax levy fails as Fremont voters say no for second time

FREMONT — City voters rejected a proposed new 0.5% income tax levy on Tuesday.

Based on unofficial results from the Sandusky County Board of Elections, more than 60% of voters voted against the levy.

The total unofficial votes recorded 1,144 null votes against 754 in favor of the levy.

This is the second time Fremont voters have rejected the levy.

In November 2021, 1,024 voters, or 54.82%, voted against levying income tax, with 848 voters in favour.

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If passed, the levy would have helped fund an ambitious five-year road rehabilitation program in Fremont. The funds could only be used for the construction and repair of streets and bridges.

After the November defeat, political leaders from both parties, along with Mayor Danny Sanchez, announced their support for putting the levy back on the ballot and pledged to make a concerted effort to pass it in its second attempt.

Auditor Paul Grahl said the tax is expected to generate between $2.5 million and $3 million a year, if approved.

Fremont City Council approved a resolution in January to put the five-year road tax back on the ballot May 3.

The proposed levy would increase the city’s income tax by 50 cents for every $100 of taxable income. For taxpayers earning an average annual salary of $40,000, their municipal income tax would increase by $200 each year for five years.

According to the city, Fremont spends about $400,000 a year improving streets and bridges.

Grahl said the city’s last income tax increase was in 1988.

If the levy is approved, he said Fremont would follow a trend of other regional cities that have raised their income tax rates to counter massive local government funding cuts by the Ohio legislature.

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Twitter: @DanielCarson7