Reynoldsburg News

Nov. 5 election

City's request for income tax increase tops ballot for voters

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Reynoldsburg voters will see a full ballot Tuesday, Nov. 5, that includes a city income tax hike proposal, a Truro Township operating levy, and candidates for three at-large city council seats and three school board seats.

Issue 23, a proposed 1-percent income tax hike, would raise Reynoldsburg's city income tax rate from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent and generate about $5 million annually, according to City Auditor Richard Harris.

If it passes, residents who work in Reynoldsburg or any other city with an income tax rate lower than 2.5 percent would see an increase in their income taxes.

People who work in Columbus, Worthington or Whitehall -- communities with tax rates already at 2.5 percent -- would not see an increase in taxes if Issue 23 is approved.

Residents who are retired or not working would not be affected by the tax hike.

An income tax calculator and information on how people would be affected is posted on the city website at ci.reynoldsburg.oh.us and at reynoldsburgfacts.com.

Voters have rejected the last three attempts to raise the city income tax.

City leaders say the tax hike is needed to generate more revenue for hiring more police officers and maintaining city services for parks, snow removal, road repairs and other essentials.

 

Township levy

Truro Township officials are seeking approval of Issue 47, a five-year, 0.75-mill operating levy.

Township Administrator Jason Nicodemus said if it is approved, the levy would generate about $348,000 per year. It would cost homeowners an additional $26.25 per year in taxes for each $100,000 in home valuation.

Nicodemus said the township lost about $200,000 in revenue over the past two years because of state budget cuts. He said township funds provide services such as road repair and cemetery upkeep.

 

City Council

Four candidates are seeking election to three at-large seats on Reynoldsburg City Council -- Republican incumbents Barth Cotner and Chris Long and challengers Dan Skinner, also a Republican, and Preston Stearns, a Democrat.

Cotner, 41, was first appointed to council in January 2009. He said he supports the income tax issue because more revenue is needed to maintain city services. He said city spending has been consistently reduced, but the best way to generate more revenue with the least impact is the income tax rate increase.

Long, 55, was elected to council in November 2009. He said he was against an attempt by council to lower the city income tax credit, which was vetoed by Mayor Brad McCloud. He said if the income tax issue fails, the city must focus more effort on economic development.

Skinner, 32, said he is against the income tax increase because he would like to see the city spend more time and effort increasing revenue through business development.

Stearns, 67, was elected as the Ward 1 representative on Reynoldsburg City Council in 2003 and served one term. He said the city needs to pass the income tax issue and eliminate unnecessary expenses. He said council members should revisit a tax credit reduction if the tax issue fails.

 

School board

Three Reynoldsburg Board of Education incumbents and one newcomer are seeking election to three seats on the board.

Joe Begeny is challenging incumbents Ryan Brzezinski, Andrew Swope and Elaine Tornero.

Begeny, 37, said the district's open enrollment policy appears to be working but the district should continually review its policies to maintain appropriate class sizes.

Brzezinski, 44, was elected in 2009 and said he is running for re-election to continue to give citizens a voice and to strive for accountability.

Brzezinski said the district should have a firm deadline for open enrollment applications and should define class sizes to prevent overcrowding.

Swope, 53, was first appointed to the school board in 1999. He said the district has been fiscally responsible, continues to lead in the innovation of education and that open enrollment is a successful program that generates revenue to help keep the district off the ballot.

Tornero, 57, was elected in 2009 and said she wants to continue to protect residents' investment in the district by focusing on gaining the greatest return for students and taxpayers.

Tornero said open enrollment results speak to the success of the program, but said enrollment caps should be set at every grade level.

 

Township trustees

In Truro Township, two incumbents and one challenger are seeking election to two available seats on the board of trustees.

Challenger and former township firefighter Mike Shirey is running against incumbents Dennis Nicodemus and Barb Strussion.

Nicodemus, 55, was appointed to serve as township trustee in December 2002. He said he supports the 0.75-mill Truro Township operating levy because the township needs more revenue to repair roads and to maintain citizen services. He said his main goal if he is re-elected is to make sure the township operates efficiently, especially in terms of fire and emergency services.

Shirey, 54, recently retired after 34 years as a firefighter and fire/arson investigator with Truro Township. He said this is not the right time for a levy request and that he would work to control spending, budget properly and maintain fiscal responsibility before asking voters for more money.

Strussion, 70, has been a Truro Township trustee for 16 years, with her first term beginning Jan. 1, 1998. She said approval of the operating levy would allow the township to provide the best services and safety protection for residents. She said the township will continue to look for shared services, seek new ways to stay fiscally sound and continue the preservation of area roads and Silent Home Cemetery.

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