|Voters give nod to city income tax increase|
|Tuesday, May 06, 2014 8:18 PM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
DELPHOS — Mayor Michael Gallmeier breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday evening after the polls closed and the ballots counted. The .25-percent income tax increased was ushered in by Delphos City voters 660 to 421.
“This is great news!” Gallmeier said. “A weight has been lifted. I am so thankful the citizens felt it was needed this time.”
The measure will put approximately $400,000 earmarked for Parks and Rec operations into the General Fund, freeing up the same amount to address revenue shortfalls in the Water and Sewer funds and other accounts.
Gallmeier said he felt the Lakeview Farms expansion news late last week and giving voters information about cuts that would have to take place if the levy failed worked in the city’s favor.
“With the expansion news and what I felt was a good public forum that answered a lot of questions, the citizens feel that along with the administration and council, we can make this work. We can get through this,” Gallmeier said. “The income tax increase is for three years; it’s temporary. It’ll help us bridge that gap.”
Gallmeier said he is also glad voters passed a pair of Delphos City Schools levies.
“I’m thankful voters passed all three. It shows the people of Delphos care about what happens here,” Gallmeier added.
Measures the city has taken to address the deficit spending include three layoff in the service department in mid-October and 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 kept approximately $15,500 in the city coffers in 2013 and 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.
Voters turned down a .25-percent income tax levy 799-571 in November. The revenue from that tax would have gone into the General Fund with no designation.
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. The revenue generated is from that increase is earmarked for Safety Services, including Fire and Rescue and the police department.