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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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 Voters in the Village of Genoa next month will decide the fate of an income tax credit for residents who work outside the village.

 A referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot will determine if an ordinance approved by village council that repeals a 0.75 percent credit for residents who pay taxes to other municipalities will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.

 Several residents who say the tax credit is needed have circulated a petition for placing the referendum on the ballot.  Mayor Ken Harsanje, however, says repeal of the tax credit is needed to offset the loss of Local Government Funds from the state and other strains on the village budget.

 Cost cutting measures that have already been implemented include elimination of the public works director and zoning inspector positions and assigning those responsibilities to Kevin Gladden, the village administrator.  The assistant parks director position has also been eliminated and the administration is stepping up efforts to collect delinquent income tax filings and payments and utility bills.

 Ending the tax credit, the mayor said, will help to avoid further austerity measures that could result in cuts to police department and public works personnel. Capital improvement projects for streets and sidewalks may also be delayed if the credit is still allowed.

 The village income tax generated approximately $787,000 in 2015, according to administration figures. The mayor said he has no reliable projections of how much revenue would be generated by eliminating the credit.

 In 2005, the village received about $70,000 in Local Government Funds from the state. Last year, it only received $32,000, the mayor said.

 “The cuts by the state have hurt every school district and every municipality and township,” the mayor said. “We don’t want to make any further cuts but we may have to.”

 With revenues from the repeal of the tax credit, the village may be able to complete improvement projects to the town hall building as well as other projects, including completing the village’s section of the Northcoast Inland Trail.

 “We have a lot of extensive repairs to do on the town hall building,” the mayor said. “We have to fix the elevator. The bell tower itself and roof need a lot of work. It could be $100,000 to $200,000.”

Credit helps families

Jennifer Widmer, a petitioner, said young working families especially need the tax credit.

 “We have a lot of people who work outside the village. There are not a lot of job opportunities inside the village. If you work in Toledo, with a 2.25 percent income tax, you pay 3 percent in local taxes without the credit,” she said, adding the lack of a credit is an incentive for more mobile residents to move into neighboring townships that have no income taxes.

 She said the repeal of the credit is “an easy way out” for the village officials rather than taking a long-term view of actual municipal budget needs.

 “They have made some personnel consolidations,” she said. “But one of the things we were told at the council meeting that needed to be done was the town hall elevator and other work. As a taxpayer I would rather have the civic theater group, which uses that part of the town hall, raise money privately for the work.  Also, the school district passed a significant levy about a year or so ago and now we have the village removing this tax credit. For young families we don’t think this is the wisest choice for the future of our community.”

 Levies on ballot

 Other Ottawa County townships, school districts and villages in The Press readership area seeking renewals of levies on Nov. 8 include:

• Village of Elmore, renewal of a 3-mill, 3-year street/alley maintenance levy and a 3-mill, 3-year levy for solid waste collection.

• Allen Township, renewal of a 0.47-mill, 5-year levy for cemetery maintenance and operations.

• Clay Township, renewal of a 0.5-mill, 5-year levy for cemetery maintenance and operations.

• Benton-Carroll-Salem School District, renewal of a 4.33-mill, 5-year levy for operating expenses.

• Genoa Area School District, renewal of a 1.6-mill, continuing levy for permanent improvements.

• Woodmore Local School District, renewal of a 5-year levy that generates about $600,000 annually for operations.

• Mental Health and Recovery Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties, renewal of a 0.7-mill, 10-year levy for operating expenses.

• Salem Township, Precinct 3, liquor option for Friendship Food Store.  

       

 

 

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Will you watch the "Roseanne" spinoff "The Conners"?
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