This is HOGWASH! – Not making cuts and passing this tax simply means they will be back for more in the years to come. IF they want more money, QUIT with not creating the environment for businesses to succeed here!.
With the County taking it on one end and YOU the other, how can the economy survive when folks continue to get taxed more?.
MANSFIELD — City council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to place a 0.25 percent income tax increase before voters in November.
The two ordinances calling for the fall ballot issue say the “Save Our City” levy would be used to provide essential public services, including — but not limited to — streets, the jail and police and fire protection.
If it passes, the tax issue would run from Jan. 1, 2013, and ending Dec. 31, 2016.
City officials backed away from an earlier plan to pursue a 0.25 percent increase earmarked solely for police and fire protection. That is necessary, they said, because Richland County commissioners are seeking a significant increase in the contract for city use of the Richland County Jail.
“You can imagine the bombshell that occurred when the commissioners said we are increasing your annual bill for the jail from $1.4 million to $2.4 million,” Law Director John Spon told city council.
Mayor Tim Theaker distributed copies of an email sent Monday by Sharon Hanrahan, an Ohio Office of Budget and Management employee who chairs the city’s fiscal recovery commission. The email said the state auditor’s office ran the numbers for the increased cost of city-paid space in the county jail. The 20-year contract can be revised every five years.
“An outside company evaluates the cost per bed, and sets the rate for the next five years,” Hanrahan wrote.
When the state auditor’s office ran figures for the additional jail costs, that caused the city’s projected surplus — with implementation of the quarter-percent tax increase — to fall from almost $9 million by 2016 to less than $5 million, she said.
“The simple fact is, these additional jail costs have to be absorbed. This makes the passage of the safety forces levy even more important than previously thought,” Hanrahan wrote.
At-Large Councilwoman Ellen Haring voted against putting the 0.25 percent tax increase on the ballot.
“I would like to have more information on the jail contract for 2013,” she said.
Haring, who frequently attends the fiscal recovery commission’s meetings, recommended council authorize Spon to look into the county’s arguments for why a $1 million increase in the jail contract was sought, and into cost containment options, “to see what may be done about this situation.”
Spon said a $1 million increase seems “an almost impossible problem to solve,” but he hoped the city and county could come to an agreement.
Third Ward Councilman Scott Hazen said he also would like to see numbers for costs the city might incur if it operated a jail on its own.
Hazen said the city closed its own jail several years ago because it was more cost-effective to use the county jail than to pay to improve the facility.
Police Chief Dino Sgambellone said it would be easier for the city to convince voters to approve a “safety tax,” rather than an issue designed to help bring Mansfield out of fiscal emergency.
“The reality is going to show, if you open the city’s books, we don’t have a pot of gold,” Sgambellone said.