In a unanimous show of support for Mayor Chris Schmenk's administration, Marysville City Council voted 7-0 Thursday to place a one-half percent municipal income tax increase on the November ballot.

In a unanimous show of support for Mayor Chris Schmenk's administration, Marysville City Council voted 7-0 Thursday to place a one-half percent municipal income tax increase on the November ballot.

The move came 24 hours after a public hearing at the Union County Service Center attended by about 40 people, the majority of whom expressed support for Schmenk's plan to fund new police, fire and municipal court facilities via a tax increase.

Schmenk praised city council for putting the issue before the voters.

"I want to thank council for the 7-0 vote tonight," she said. "That takes a lot of political courage for all of you. We very much appreciate it. I cannot express what your partnership with us means on this. I want to thank each member of council for stepping up and being willing to act like leaders."

Council President John Gore said he understood that proposing a tax increase during difficult economic times would be considered "political suicide" by some, but as an elected public official, he felt a responsibility to give voters the opportunity to decide on the issue.

During Wednesday night's public hearing, city administrator Jillian Froment estimated the total cost of new safety services facilities would be in the $20-million range. She said the cost to build a new fire station and rehabilitating the existing station in Uptown Marysville would be approximately $5-million. A new police and municipal court facility would cost an additional $15-million.

Those estimates do not include the cost of acquiring land.

Froment estimated the annual operating and maintenance costs for the new facilities would be approximately $1.1-million per year.

Marysville's current income tax rate is 1 percent, one of the lowest municipal tax rates in central Ohio. If voters approve, the rate will increase to 1.5 percent.

Marysville's current 1-percent municipal income tax was established in 1968 and has not been increased since. It generates approximately $8.4-million a year. If voters increase the income tax to 1.5 percent, it would generate an additional $4.1-million a year.

Marysville's safety facilities have failed to keep pace with the city's rapid growth over the past 20 years. Froment said the population of Marysville has grown from 7,414 in 1980 to approximately 18,500 today. She also noted the land size of the city has increased from 4.05 square miles to 16.22 square miles during that same period.

During her presentation Wednesday night, Froment said the police department lacks basic facility security resources such as secure entrances, temporary holding facilities and a sally port entrance for transporting prisoners.

Froment said the police department operates with three fewer cruisers, five fewer officers, one less communications officer and five fewer civilian positions than police departments in comparable cities.

She said the Marysville Fire Department faces similar challenges, providing coverage to a 16.22-square-mile area from a single fire station.

Comparable cities have one station for every 4.83 square miles.

Froment said the fire department's single station provides service to 5,563 households while comparable cities service 3,800 households per station. She said the fire department also operates with 6.8 fewer firefighters than comparable cities.

Froment also pointed out that Mary-sville Municipal Court's holding cell for prisoners does not meet minimum standards and does not provide segregation from the public.

In addition, she said the municipal court clerk's office lacks appropriate security and room for growth and appropriate storage for case files.