Council to debate reciprocity

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 12, 2004

For Ironton City Councilman Bill Nenni, the principle is simple: Everyone who lives in Ironton should pay for the services and protection it provides.

With this reason in mind, Nenni re-sponsored a half-percent reciprocity

reduction that would require people who live in Ironton but work in neighboring communities such as Huntington, W.Va., or Ashland, Ky., to also pay half the city's 1-percent income tax.

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Employees pay an income tax where they work, but if there is no income tax there, they pay where they live. If this passes, Ironton residents who work in other municipalities with at least a 1-percent tax would still have to pay that fee, but also have to pay half of Ironton's income tax.

"I think this is important because we have to do something to raise the revenues or we will have to cut a tremendous amount of expenses to address our $500,000 spending deficit," Nenni said of the ordinance that will be considered at 6 p.m. today in the regular meeting.

"I still think the reciprocity is the best avenue to do that, and that it is head over heels better than anything else. I don't think it is fair that people live in Ironton, have an excellent income but don't pay anything for the services within the city."

City Finance Director Cindy Anderson estimated that the reciprocity change would generate approximately $320,000 in a full year.

An identical proposal was defeated two months ago, but Nenni said he believes it may pass this time around. Last time, Nenni, Councilmen Richard Price and Brent Pyles voted for it. Councilmen Chuck O'Leary, Bob Isaac and Jim Tordiff voted no. Councilman Jesse Roberts was absent.

O'Leary said he remains opposed to the plan because he believes that it

is unfair.

"Because of what I went through at the (River Valley) hospital and watching Dayton Malleable and others leave, I know these people were forced to go out of town. They would not have gone if there if there were opportunities here," O'Leary said. "The people that work out of town would be paying a lion's share and they are a small minority of those that would be paying income tax."

Currently, Ironton residents who work in Boyd County, but outside of Ashland, are required to pay Ironton's 1-percent tax because the reciprocal agreement only applies to municipalities not an entire county.

In other business, Council will also consider legislation to authorize the mayor to seek grant funding and to execute contracts to repair the newest sink hole that has developed on Railroad Street.

Other items include further discussion of an environmental assessment of the former Ironton Iron property and an amended 2004 budget.