Delaware County Board of Elections: Challenge to Powell's income-tax measure withdrawn

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek

A challenge filed with the Delaware County Board of Elections regarding the city of Powell’s income-tax ballot issue has been withdrawn.

Jan Simonis, who had filed the challenge, contacted the board via email to withdraw, assistant director Anthony Saadey told ThisWeek.

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Powell City Council had voted during its Jan. 19 meeting to approve a resolution to place the issue on the May 4 ballot. The elections board previously had certified the issue and approved the ballot language.

“I do not believe that due process was followed to correctly place this issue on the ballot” filed with the elections board, Simonis previously said. “Therefore, I respectfully challenge the placement onto the ballot and request that this issue be revisited in a formal hearing.”

The board was supposed to discuss the possibility of such a hearing at its regular meeting March 17. Saadey said the matter still would be discussed but that the challenge is, for all intents and purposes, resolved.

Yaz Ashwari, legal counsel for the city of Powell, in statements made during a March 11 special meeting of the elections board, had questioned on several fronts the appropriateness of such a hearing by the board that could affect the placement of the issue on the ballot.

City Manager Andrew White said he was encouraged by the development, but he stopped short of calling it a victory.

“While we feel it’s important that everyone’s voice be heard, we feel good that the city’s position on due process in placing this legislation on the ballot has been upheld and that the people will decide on the income-tax restructuring,” White told ThisWeek. “A victory would be an approval of the restructuring on May 4.”

Simonis has not returned ThisWeek’s requests for additional comment.

City Council approved the resolution to place the issue on the ballot Jan. 19.

The measure would raise the city’s income tax from 0.75% to 2% and increase the credit for taxes paid in another municipality from 25% to 100%.

If approved by voters, the tax would begin being collected Jan. 1, 2022. The issue is estimated to generate $3.4 million annually in revenue for the city.

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