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Council leaves it up to voters

Ironton City Council and members of the Right Choice committee have made their recommendation – now it’s up to residents to decide how they want to fund the city.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Ironton City Council and members of the Right Choice committee have made their recommendation – now it’s up to residents to decide how they want to fund the city.

After drawing a plan, the committee and council hashed out a measure that will appear on November’s ballot.

"It’s getting to the point where we need to cook or get out of the kitchen," Councilman Brent Pyles said.

The proposed measure will call for a municipal payroll tax rate of 1.45 percent and a $2.50 municipal fee that will be paid by every household across the board – all with a three-year expiration date.

The municipal tax will increase the money withheld from paychecks 0.45 percent. Currently, residents pay a 1-percent income tax.

The $2.50 fee, if passed, is a switch off from the $2.50 currently paid by city water users. The ordinance that placed the current fee was stipulated to remove the fee if a measure is placed on the ballot and passed by the electorate.

If passed, the new $2.50 will take effect Jan. 1, 2002, the same day the current $2.50 fee terminates.

Now that the legislation is up for a vote, city government officials are turning their attention to the next step – public education.

"I think this (passing the legislation for November’s ballot) is the first step," Mayor Bob Cleary said. "We need to take all of the time needed to educate the public."

Cleary said he plans to conduct town meetings in order to spread the word on why the city needs the legislation to pass – to keep afloat. The mayor said he is planning to conduct meetings across town, not just at the City Center.

He said it is important for citizens to not only know why the city needs the legislation to pass but also the consequences if the measure fails.

Councilman Jesse Roberts agreed that the ballot item needs the support of the city government.

"It’s very important we convey the message to the public and make a unified front," he said.

He added the citizens should know that the tax increase and municipal fee is needed, even though the city is still under taking money saving measures. "We’re not out of money because of mismanagement," the councilman said. He added, "we’ve came to a crossroads" where the city needs increased revenues to continue to provide the same services to residents. Roberts said with the increased cost of providing service and the shortfall in revenue generated by the city due to business closings, the city is need of more money to stay afloat.

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