The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 15, 2013

Geneva to ask for .5 percent tax hike

Star Beacon

GENEVA — Geneva City Council took the first step toward a a half percent income tax increase Monday night, a measure that will likely be on the May 7 ballot.

Council held the first reading on the measure and passed a resolution to submit the tax ordinance to the Ashtabula County Board of Elections.

“This will allow for a 60-day question period before the city income tax issue is put before the voters,” City Manager Jim Pearson said.

The second reading of the ordinance will be held at Council’s meeting on Jan. 28, and the third and final confirmation of the ordinance will be held on Feb. 11.

The increase “can’t be helped,” Councilman Howard Anderson said, as federal and state funds for local governments have dwindled to almost nothing in recent years.

“This is only going to replace what we have lost in state, federal and county funding,” he said. “It won’t fully replace the $500,000 per year loss in funding we see now.”

Anderson also serves on the city’s finance committee.

The city’s three-member finance committee met in mid-December to discuss the proposed tax increase and identified the support of senior citizens, recreation, capital and operations as the main needs for the levy.

Tax collection would begin on Jan. 1, the ordinance shows.

Pearson said the city is, “getting close to the personnel lines” of the budget cuts.

“And every dollar spent in Geneva stays in Geneva,” he said.

The additional tax dollars will not be used for the Pairings Wine and Culinary Experience, a “business incubator” for the wine and culinary industry to be located in the former Geneva Elementary School property on South Eagle Street, Pearson said.