Reynoldsburg News

'Second thoughts' delay vote on tax hike

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Reynoldsburg City Council was expected to vote Monday, July 14, on whether to ask residents to approve an income tax increase in November but opted instead to send the issue back to the finance committee for further discussion.

Councilman Barth Cotner, chairman of the finance committee, said he and other council members had second thoughts about the tax issue.

"We know another tax levy will be a challenge to pass and we wanted to make sure we had all the pieces in place," he said. "We want to have full council and administrative support on this.

"I felt like we were rushing it, especially since a couple of council members were not ready to support it," he said.

Cotner said the pros and cons of asking residents to raise the income tax from 1.5 percent to 2 percent will be discussed during the finance committee meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 21, at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St.

If this tax increase would be approved by voters, it would generate about $3 million annually, with all revenue earmarked for the city's capital improvement fund, City Auditor Richard Harris said.

It would increase income taxes for residents who work in Reynoldsburg or in any city with an income tax rate lower than 2 percent. It also would increase taxes for residents who work in a township because townships do not collect income taxes, Harris said.

Cotner said after discussing the issue in committee, the resolution seeking the increase likely would be voted on at the July 28 City Council meeting. At that time, it would have to be passed as an emergency in order to meet the Aug. 6 filing deadline for putting an issue on the ballot in November.

"If we are going to put another tax issue on the ballot, we want to put it in a form that the community can get behind," he said. "We also want to have a framework of community members ready to go out and lead something to get it passed."

Residents have voted down the city's last four attempts to raise taxes.

This proposal, however, would earmark all funds raised for capital improvements, such as roads, parks and other infrastructure, Cotner said.

"We wanted to make sure we have fully investigated this issue and that we have the framework in place to really get out there and share our needs with people," he said.

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