TALLMADGE — Voters will decide in the fall election if the city income tax rate should be increased by 0.25% to provide roughly $1.4 million to maintain the city’s safety forces.
Council members unanimously voted June 27 to place the issue on the November ballot asking residents if they favor increasing the city’s income tax rate from 2% to 2.25% starting Jan. 1, 2020.
Another proposal was given a third reading and then tabled until Nov. 14 to enact the income tax increase by Council if the proposal is approved by voters this fall.
Based on the results of the election, Council could adopt the ordinance and put it in place or reject it if residents vote against an increase, according to Mayor David Kline.
The 0.25% increase, if approved, would raise an additional $1.4 million annually for the needs of the safety forces of police and fire, capital and manpower. The money would come from taxable income from those who work in the city. Retired seniors would not be affected.
The funds would go toward acquiring land for a new Fire Station 2 and constructing the facility, estimated at $6 million to $6.5 million.
Fire Station 2 would be near the existing facility located at 735 Eastwood Ave. Fire Station 1 is at 85 Overdale Drive.
In addition, the money would also be used to buy a new ladder truck — which would cost $1.1 million and replace one that is 25 years old. Additional funds would be used to make improvements to the two existing fire stations and police department needs.
The overall budget for the fire department has a 40% increase in calls and staffing with 3,000 calls this year and rising, Kline said. Each year the city has to transfer more money from its general fund to cover an operating deficit in the fire department. The fire department’s 2019 operating budget is $3.5 million with $1.46 million from the city’s General Fund.
The next scheduled council meeting is July 11 at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers, 46 North Ave. Council of the Whole committee meeting begins at 7 p.m.
Also, the Planning Commission will meet July 2 at 7 p.m., a change from its originally scheduled date of July 4.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.