|Income tax increase to support parks & rec|
|Sunday, March 30, 2014 8:00 PM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
DELPHOS — Voters within the Delphos city limits will decide on a quarter-percent income tax increase on the May Primary Ballot.
Residents can cast that vote as early as Tuesday by absentee and early-voting ballot.
The three-year measure, if passed, will generate approximately $400,000 a year beginning July 1. The funds are to be directed to the Parks and Recreation Fund.
According to Mayor Michael Gallmeier, the income tax increase is the least painful way for all to raise city revenue.
“The increase, which does not affect Social Security or pensions, will cost taxpayers 25 cents on every $100 earned,” Gallmeier said. “If it doesn’t pass, we are going to have to cut services to the parks and raise water and sewer rates. Other items are also on the table.”
While council passed a balanced 2014 Budget on March 24, Fiscal Year 2015 and beyond show negative balances in the Sewer Fund and by 2016, the Water Fund is in the same shape.
Without the tax increase, rates will need to be raised significantly to improve the bottom line.
“We are looking at a 23-percent rate increase for sewer and a 15-percent increase for water,” Gallmeier said. “If this does pass, there will be a much lower increase in those rates.”
The city has already instituted a 3-hour-per-week furlough for employees and department heads in Parks and Rec, Maintenance, Water, Sewer and administrative. The city also received a deferment for the loan for the new wastewater treatment plant, saving the city nearly $1.5 million at the end of 2013.
The Ohio Water Development Authority granted the deferment to extend the loans out six months past the scheduled last payment, keeping $525,000 in the Water Fund and nearly $900,000 in the Sewer Fund.
Another way to boost revenue includes reducing the city’s current income tax reciprocity, which affords those who live here but work outside the city a .75-percent break on their city income tax due to payment to another municipality. Increases in permit fees for utility tap-ins, demolition and new builds are also on the table.
“None of these are etched in stone,” Gallmeier said. “They are all just ideas to help us get through this. We all have to work together. We didn’t get here in a day and we won’t fix it in a day but passage of this income tax increase will be a big step in the right direction.”