Paula Schleisand Gina Mace
Workers are being asked to chip in a little more to help build a new police facility in Kent and to help balance village budgets in Peninsula, Windham and Beach City.
The four communities have income tax increases on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Here’s what you need to know before you head to the polls:
The city has proposed a 0.25 percent increase on the existing 2 percent income tax rate to build a new police facility for this community of 28,000, saying there is no money in the current budget to support such a project.
All revenue generated, estimated at about $1.3 million a year, would go toward the costs of design and construction of the replacement building.
The total project budget is set at $18.36 million, and would require annual debt service payments estimated at $1.2 million per year.
Officials estimate it would take about 30 years to pay off the debt, but the tax would be continuing. Once the facility is paid off and a contingency police building fund of $1 million is established, future tax collections would be used to pay for street and sidewalk construction, maintenance and repair.
Kent already offers residents credit for paying up to 2 percent in income taxes to another community, but the new quarter-percent increase would be beyond that cap.
That means Kent residents who work in another city with a 2 percent income tax rate would have to pay an additional quarter-percent income tax to Kent.
For the third time, this village of 600 will decide a request to increase the local income tax rate from 1 to 2 percent.
Officials said the increase would add up to $200,000 a year to the village budget, which stands at $1 million this year.
The village long has struggled to make ends meet while providing basic services, in large part because the Cuyahoga Valley National Park owns more than half of the village’s land, and the federal entity is exempt from paying property tax.
That same park attracts a million hikers, bikers and nature lovers who overwhelm this quaint community each year, using streets that need to be paved, salted and plowed from a shrinking budget, officials say.
Residents currently receive a 100 percent credit for taxes paid to another municipality up to the existing 1 percent tax rate. Village Council said it intends to extend the credit up to 2 percent if the tax is increased, meaning only those who work in the village would experience a hike.
Without new income, council has said it would look at a possible reduction of services for next year, although those have not been defined.
Officials have asked voters to consider a 0.5 percent income tax increase over the current 1.5 percent rate.
The measure would generate $150,000 a year to add to a budget that stands at $2.1 million.
Mayor Rob Donham said the money would replace some of the $180,000 in local government cuts the state has made. The village already has cut $200,000 from the budget, including reducing capital improvements and job attrition.
About 90 percent of the village’s general fund goes to maintaining the police department, which is down two officers. Without new revenue, an additional $100,000 would need to be trimmed from the police budget to fund emergency road repairs.
With the levy, Donham said, the two vacant police positions would be refilled and road and community improvement budgets would be restored.
The village offers a 0.5 percent credit for residents who work out of town. That credit would remain at its current rate.
The Stark County village is asking voters to increase the income tax from 1 to 1.5 percent for general operations.
Village officials did not return a call seeking more information.
Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or firstname.lastname@example.org.