Council approves reciprocity change, nixes fee

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

"And another one bites the dust…" But it was not the proposal the dozen or so audience members had hoped to see go down in defeat.

Ironton City Council addressed part of the city's $500,000 annual deficit between revenue and expenses Thursday by adopting a 50 percent reduction to the city's reciprocity agreement. Council also voted down the third proposal for a $10 municipal fee, leaving several in the audience angry and frustrated.

This means that Ironton residents working in municipalities with income taxes will see an additional half percent come out of their checks.

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Tenth Street resident Laura Jones attended the meeting to voice her opposition to the reciprocity change that would burden the resident who works in Ashland. She didn't come empty handed either since she brought petitions of 150 signatures opposing the change. Jones said she felt like council didn't listen to her before but decided to try again.

"I feel like they listened this time but then slapped me in the face," she said after the meeting. "They listened but said we don't give a …"

The new change calls for Ironton residents who work in neighboring municipalities with an income tax, such as Portsmouth or Ashland, Ky., to now pay half of Ironton's income tax. Previously, those individuals were not required to pay anything to Ironton.

Council approved the change with a 4-3 vote. Councilmen Richard Price, Bill Nenni, Brent Pyles and Jesse Roberts voted for it. Councilmen Bob Isaac, Chuck O'Leary and Jim Tordiff voted against the measure.

Roberts said he supported the reciprocity, even though it affected him and his wife, over the municipal fee because that proposal still has lots of unanswered questions as to where the money would go and the legality of the plan.

"Reciprocity is simply an opportunity for people such as myself to pay for items and services they receive in the city but don't pay for," he said. "Do I want to pay more? No."

Other residents, such as Mike Pearson are angry about the change because they are already paying two sets of taxes. Pearson pays Boyd County's 1.25-percent tax but is still required to pay Ironton's 1-percent tax because the reciprocal agreement only applies to municipalities, not an entire county.

"I want to see my taxes reduced by a half percent," he said.

Several audience members and council members voiced their support for the $10 fee, voted down twice before, that had made it onto the agenda again.

"I think this is a no-brainer. I think the people understand. I think the people have spoken," Tordiff said. "I, for one, believe we better listen to the people."

The measure was vote down 5-2, supported only by O'Leary and Tordiff. The audience let out a sigh, signaling the frustration many in the audience said they felt.

"I feel like it is all just blown over their heads," said Paul Glanville, of 2429 S. 12th St. "I don't know what the deal is but I think some of them just don't like the new mayor."

Clearly disappointed with the announcement, Mayor John Elam informed council that a business that had considered locating in the South Ironton Industrial Park chose a site across the river in Paul Coffey Industrial Park in Ashland.

Elam said the parties involved gave the company a good proposal but that the building in Kentucky was already set-up for their needs.

"Marketing, recruiting is a difficult job. We are doing the best we can," Elam said. "We are not waiting for projects to fall in our lap. We are actively recruiting, actively seeking."