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Half-percent municipal tax increase?

A half-percent increase in the municipal tax may see its way to November’s ballot if pending legislation is adopted by Ironton City Council.

Saturday, July 21, 2001

A half-percent increase in the municipal tax may see its way to November’s ballot if pending legislation is adopted by Ironton City Council.

Ordinance 01-34, sponsored by council chairman Jim Tordiff, calls for the increase, raising the municipal tax from 1 percent to 1.5 percent. State law dictates the maximum municipal tax that can be levied on citizens without a vote is 1 percent. Any increase above the 1-percent mark requires a vote from the populace.

The reason for the increase, according to the ordinance, is based on the financial crunch officials say the city is facing.

According to Section 1 of the ordinance, "the amount of taxes that may be raised by the levy of income taxes at 1 percent is insufficient to provide adequate financial support and that it is necessary for the purpose of providing additional funds for the city…"

The proposal which was discussed last night at a special meeting of council has met some opposition.

Councilman Jesse Roberts said he will fight the measure calling the action a "quick fix." He explained that although he wants to see some measure on the ballot so residents can vote on the course they wish to see the city take, he said "just putting something on the ballot is not the answer."

Councilman Leo Ulery said he would like to see other alternatives to generate money for the city considered,. Specifically, he would like to see a combination municipal tax and fee. He said only those that work will encumber the burden of the tax increase, not those who are retired.

"Some people say ‘you’re retired and you’ve paid your share,’ but I still use the same services as everyone else," Ulery said.

Some Ironton residents favor the increase in the city’s municipal tax. John Howes, a resident who lives on Fifth Street, said he thinks the increased tax will "do some good for the city" and he doesn’t "have a problem with raising the taxes" a half-percent.

City resident Jesse Gannon said he feels the increase would be fine "if the city used the money for what it’s needed for…getting jobs in here."

The proposed ordinance will receive second reading tonight at another special meeting. A committee started by Mayor Bob Cleary to review revenue-generating options will meet before the council meeting.