Alison Stewart
Ohio.com correspondent


BARBERTON: Mayor William Judge provided the community with a presentation on why Issue 8 is a “need, not a want,” earlier this month at the Active Adult Center.



Issue 8 will be on the Nov. 5 ballot and consists of a 0.25 percent increase in taxes to go towards the resurfacing and reconstruction of Barberton roads.



“If you are retired collecting a pension, social security, disability, or unemployment benefits, this increase in taxes will not affect you, said Judge.



“We should be spending approximately $1.2 to $1.5 million on the improvements of our roads each year, but we are only spending about $250,000,” said Judge. “That is a huge difference. There’s only so much money.”



Street resurfacing consists of adding a new layer of asphalt onto the surface of a road. Some roads will be grounded down and milled first. Street reconstruction involves the removal of the entire roadway down to the sub grade. A new installation of a base and asphalt as well as other items will be required.



“Our goal is to be able to put a solid base and reconstruct most of our streets,” said Judge. “We won’t have to go back to working on them for many years.”



The average income of a home in Barberton is $30,000. This tax increase would be an extra $75 per year, or $6.25 per month for those making $30,000 a year according to Judge.



The current income tax in Barberton is 2 percent, while the tax in Akron is 2.25 percent.



“Those who work in Akron are already paying 2.25 percent and are not receiving any benefits for Barberton,” said Judge. “These people will be paying the same amount they are now and their home city will now benefit from it.”



The money gained from Issue 8 will only be used for the resurfacing and reconstruction of Barberton roads.



If passed, this tax will go into effect on January 1, 2014. The city of Barberton would like to hear from community members about which roads will be reconstructed first.



A common question among community members is, “What about the flooding that goes on in Barberton? Shouldn’t that be our main priority?”



To this Judge replied, “The city is addressing the issue of flooding by working with surrounding communities, extending and installing retention basins, making plans for future mitigation, and working through our Flood Action Committee.”



One citizen asked how long it will take before there is a noticeable improvement in the roads. Judge said there should be a noticeable improvement right away.



“We want to do this right so that we will not have to touch these roads again for a long time,” said Judge.



One citizen brought up the point that those who do not currently pay income taxes will be positively affected by Issue 8 because the improvement of roads will cause their property values to increase.



Approximately one dozen citizens were in attendance for this presentation, and all were enthusiastic about Issue 8.



Judge said the passage of Issue 8 would lead to increased property values, less wear and tear on vehicles, and economic development opportunities for the community.



The next and final presentation on Issue 8 will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Active Adult Center.