NEWTON FALLS — For the second time this month, an attempt to impose an income tax hike in the general election has been rejected by the village council.
Mayor Ken Kline voted against, to break a 2-2 vote.
A motion to put the income tax increase on the ballot was seconded by council members John Baryak and Tesa Spletzer while council members Chris Granchie and Julie Stimpert voted against.
Kline threw the “Nope” vote to defeat the motion.
General Counsel Brad Bryan said the motion was to place an income tax question on the ballot to increase the current 1% to 1.25% in 2023 and 1.50% in 2024. He said said the product would be for village parks and roads.
“We have to give people the opportunity to vote on this. Let the people speak and decide. If they don’t want that, let them tell us. Baryak said.
Spletzer said the current income tax dates from 1966 and cannot cover service costs in 2022.
“We cannot provide services to residents based on the same income tax percentage that was created in 1966,” she said, noting inflation and rising costs.
She also said residents should be given the opportunity to vote on the issue.
Granchie said while he recognizes the public should have the right to vote, he has received numerous calls, texts and emails from many residents – all against an income tax hike.
“I object to this. I haven’t received a single resident email or support call about this. Those present at meetings make their voices heard. There’s only a very, very small minority that wants that. said Granchie.
Stimpert said now is not the time for an income tax problem because of the economy. She said people who have reached out to her are also not supportive of the issue.
“It is my job as an elected official to represent voters and I will continue to do so,” he added. said Stimpert.
Kline said he had thought about the matter, noting that the village is in “significant financial need” but many families are going through difficult times.
Earlier this month, the council also voted 2-2 to put another income tax issue – rising from 1% to 1.5% in 2023 – on the ballot, which was also defeated. after Kline’s vote. “Nope” to break the tie.
Before council proceeded to vote, several residents spoke about the issue of income tax. Resident Jim Luonuansuu said an income tax question was already dismissed two weeks ago.
“You try to put it back in place. We are currently living through the worst economic times we have seen in decades. Forecasters say we face a recession anytime soon. You shouldn’t be asking the people of this town another dollar until we do everything we can to cut back. We were told at school the word “Nope” means “no,” he said.
Resident Jamie Kline said people were also unhappy with the idea of a police swab. The council voted 4 to 0 asking the county auditor to determine the amount of a five-year, $2 million tax and a five-year, $3 million tax for the police department.
Granchie said the council wants to see what each mile is worth before taking steps to place the levy on the November general election ballot.
“We have to see if we should go for a 2-mill or a 3-mill”, he said. “Everything we need to cover our bases and the minimum we need from the public.”