Macedonia — City Council is scheduled to vote tonight to return to the ballot in May with a new proposal for voters that would raise the city’s income tax rate by 0.5 percent, while allowing an income tax credit for residents in which they would not have to pay anything above a 2.0 rate. (Check back here for an update on tonight's meeting.)
“This plan will not raise taxes on the residents of Macedonia,” said Councilor Kevin Bilkie, who came up with the plan.
Bilkie said the increase, if approved, would be permanent. Proceeds would be earmarked for roads, the recreation center, for refunds to residents who pay over 2 percent, with the remainder going to the general fund.
Officials said that if voters approve the proposal, the income tax burden would be placed on businesses and non-residents who work in Macedonia.
Bilkie’s income tax plan is an amended version of a proposal to place a tax measure on the ballot Mayor Joe Migliorini announced Jan. 12. The proposal was placed on second reading at a special Council meeting Jan. 24. Voting in favor of amending the proposal were Bilkie and Councilors Nick Molnar and Jan Tulley, while voting against the plan were Councilors Sylvia Hanneken and David Engle.
Council is scheduled to make its final vote on the proposal at tonight’s Council meeting at 7:30 p.m.
Hanneken said she is concerned that businesses might move out of the city because of the extra tax burden.
"We're in competition with cities like Solon, Twinsburg and Stow,” she said.
Engle said if the city is “going to seriously look at an income tax increase, we need to look at a serious attempt to cut our operating costs.”
Hanneken added, “Or at least keep them from increasing as much as they are.”
Migliorini said he likes Bilkie’s plan.
“This will get us up to where we should be on our roads,” he said. “That will give us better maintenance, so roads won't deteriorate as quickly.”
Bilkie believes his plan would raise about an additional $2 million a year.
About half of the money raised would go toward road paving and maintenance, about one-fourth of the money raised would go toward funding the recreation center and the rest of the money raised would go toward paying the income tax refund to residents plus a contribution to the general fund.
Bilkie’s proposal did not list percentages of how much money would go for the various items, but Law Director Mark Guidetti will determine those percentage numbers, which will be listed in tonight’s legislation.
It must be approved by Council and submitted to the Summit County Board of Elections by Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. to appear on the May 2 election ballot.
The city's income tax rate currently is 2.0 percent. When a 0.25 percent income tax that has been earmarked for the recreation center expires at teh end of June, the city's income tax rate would drop to 1.75 percent. If approved by voters, the 0.5 percent income tax increase would raise the city's income tax rate to 2.25 percent, Finance Director Rhonda Hall said.
The two tax issues that were defeated in the November general election, according to the Summit County Board of Elections, were:
• Issue 18, a 10-year, 0.25 percent income tax increase for roads, lost 3,774 votes against to 2,774 votes for.
• Issue 19, a 20-year, 0.25 percent income tax renewal for recreation, was defeated 3,386 votes against to 3,206 votes for.
Mike Lesko: 330-541-9432