Municipal fee may not be on ballot

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2001

The proposed $2.

Friday, August 10, 2001

The proposed $2.50 a month municipal fee that council has debated placing on November’s ballot may not see its way into the voting booth.

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According to attorney Bill Anderson, who serves as the legal representative for the city, the proposed municipal fee is considered a referendum by the county’s Board of Elections. A referendum calls for collecting the signatures of 10 percent of the populace who voted in the last city election to place the proposed item on the ballot. Council cannot, according to the Board of Elections, place the item on the ballot without the required signatures.

Anderson said it would require either an act of council to legislate the municipal fee or a petition drive to get the issue on the ballot since the fee is not required by state or city law to go before a vote of the people.

The referendum decision marks the differences in political methods. Anderson explained that the city follows a representative model of democracy, where elected officials, the representatives of the people, make decisions for their constituents. He explained that the payroll tax must be voted on by the people because according to Ohio law, a municipal tax higher than 1 percent must be voted on by the populace.

Council is now considering a measure which will only include the 0.45 percent increase in the city’s payroll tax. This legislation was tabled at last night’s meeting.

The proposed fee stems from a joint recommendation made by council at the Right Choice Committee that met to discuss what plans the city would take to offset a financial crunch city government officials are anticipating.

The legislation package recommended by council called for a .45 percent increase in the municipal payroll tax and a monthly municipal fee that would be paid by households across the board.

Council will meet in special session Saturday morning at 9 a.m. to discuss the tabled legislation. A vote could come out of that meeting.