Twinsburg council considers repealing tax increase

Ken Lahmers
Correspondent
Kent Weeklies

TWINSBURG – City Council is considering repealing an ordinance passed in July which increases real estate tax millage by 4.9 but would keep in place the tax budget for 2021, which is calculated based on an increase of 2.4 mills.

The repeal legislation was introduced at Council’s Sept. 8 meeting. It will be on second reading Sept. 22. It follows the announcement that the Summit Metro Parks is proceeding with plans to annex the city into its levy district, which would add 2 mills to property owners’ tax bills.

Mayor Ted Yates explained the ordinance means the city would abandon its plan to add 2.4 mills in 2021 and 2.5 more in 2022, but he hopes the 2.4 mills would stay in place for 2021, with no additional taxation in 2022.

The tax budget OK’d in July shows that the additional millage would be used as follows: 1 mill for police and fire capital expenditures and 0.7 mill each for the police and fire pension funds. The only other charter millage on the books currently is 0.3 mill each for the later purposes.

However, any increase in charter millage is subject to votes by city residents. In November, voters will decide whether to limit inside millage imposed by Council to 2 mills. And a referendum contesting Council’s enactment of the 4.9 additional mills may be on the ballot in 2021.

A group of city residents collected enough signatures in August to send the two issues to the ballot. The deadline to get the millage limitation issue on the fall ballot was met, but the referendum issue deadline was not, so the latter issue – if pursued – would have to wait until next year.

Yates told Council he was aware the city at some point would come into the Metro Parks’ levy district, but he was not aware of the process and timing of the annexation when Council was considering the charter millage increase.

He acknowledged that city officials still need to have conversations about generating revenue.

Council President Greg Bellan affirmed that Council did not know about the Metro Parks’ annexation plans at the time it enacted the 4.9 mills, and it was never Council’s intention to add 6.9 mills (4.9 in charter millage and 2 for the Metro Parks) to residents’ tax bills.

He reminded residents that 1.3 mills from a local parks bond issue will come off the books in 2021. Thus with that amount expiring, and if the 2.4 charter mills and 2 mills for the Metro Parks are eventually added, the net millage increase would be 3.1.

Meanwhile, Finance Director Sarah Buccigross told Council the Metro Parks board has adopted a resolution to proceed with the annexation of the city into the levy district. The matter now goes to Summit County Probate Court.

Buccigross said a public hearing date on the annexation bid has not been set, but the city will keep residents informed of when that hearing is scheduled.

Contact the newspaper at 330-541-9433, or twinsburgbulletin@recordpub.com.