|Voters nix tax increase|
|Tuesday, November 05, 2013 9:36 PM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
DELPHOS — Voters turned down a .25-percent income tax increase Tuesday 799-571.
The city was looking to increase revenue in the General Fund to help minimize a more than $860,000 loss in the Water and Sewer funds that was left by the closure of Reser’s Fine Foods in September.
Mayor Michael Gallmeier was disheartened by the results.
“This is disappointing,” he said Tuesday evening. “Now we have to move forward and figure out where we go from here. We still have to make up that money somewhere. We can’t cut many more positions, so we’ll have to look at the income tax reciprocity and water and sewer rate increased.”
The city also lost $400,000 in utility fees when Chef Solutions filed bankruptcy in 2011 and $60,000 in income revenue when I&K Distributions was sold to Lipari Food. The city has also seen reductions in Local Governments Funds from the state. The city received $240,000 in LGF in 2008 and in 2013, received only $79,000. The elimination of the Inheritance Tax cost the city $70,000 in funds.
The last time the city asked for new money was in 1989 when a .50-percent income tax increase was approved. The rate then went from 1 percent to 1.5 percent.
Measures the city has put in place to address the deficit spending issue include laying off three full-time firefighters and one full-time police officer in early October.
The action leaves the police department with seven officers, two staff officers and three dispatchers.
The layoffs came quickly on the heels of three others in the service department in mid-October, a 3-hour furlough for city employees at the city building, in the maintenance department and at the water and wastewater plants. Hours in those offices were also cut three hours.
The furloughs will keep approximately $15,500 in the city coffers for this year’s budget and if continued, will save more than $60,000 in 2014. The reduction in hours affects 27 city employees.
Council also approved a 7 1/2-percent pay reduction for city administration and department heads.