Forgiveness tax up for vote in Falls

NEWTON FALLS – The forgiveness tax is once again on the chopping block. Village ?Council will vote on an ordinance today that would remove the 1 percent credit allowed residents who work outside Newton Falls and get charged an income tax where they work.

“The city can’t keep going on. We’re running out of money,” Councilman Phillip Beer said. “A lot of people feel that we have to have people outside the city take up some of the burden.”

In the May primary election, residents voted down a proposal to raise the Newton Falls income tax by a half percent. The increase would have left people working in the village paying 1.5 percent, and those working in other municipalities paying at least 0.5 percent to Newton Falls.

Removal of the forgiveness credit would result in an even 1 percent to be paid by all village residents, regardless of where they are employed.

Council repealed the credit previously in February 2012, but reinstated it for the 2013 tax year.

Other efforts at increasing the village’s income, namely a 0.35 percent income tax increase and a 3-mill police levy, both failed on the ballots, in November 2013 and November 2012, respectively. Those combined with the vote against the half percent increase have Councilman Richard Zamecnik saying no to repealing the forgiveness tax.

“You think after three times of somebody saying no, you would stick with it,” Zamecnik said.

He said he has been receiving calls from his constituents expressing their disapproval of removing the credit.

“We need to strap down and live within our budget. I know we’ve been losing money, but I have a budget that I have to live within,” he said.

It is the loss of funding from the state and other sources that has Councilman David Wilson in favor of the repeal. It is another way for the village to increase revenue.

“I think it is time to say that 1 percent is what it costs to operate the community where you live,” Councilman David Wilson said.

If the village had more industry in it that was able to increase the tax base, he said he thought the forgiveness tax would make sense.

For those opposed to the repeal, Wilson said he’d ask, “What are you paying for the operation of the village, for the paving of streets … for the park?”

Beer and Wilson said they are not sure how the other council members will vote on the issue.

Other new business on the agenda for today includes the creation of a storm water utility ranging between $3 and $10 per month to be paid by residents for maintenance and improvement of the storm waste system.