City council votes down #036;10 fee again

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 29, 2004

As of now, Ironton's financial future has been placed in the hands of those who care the most: its residents.

On Thursday, City Council voted down, 4-3, the city's only remaining revenue generator in the form of the modified $10-per-month, per household municipal fee. Councilmen Richard Price, Jim Tordiff and Chuck O'Leary voted for the fee while Jesse Roberts, Brent Pyles, Bill Nenni and Bob Isaac voted against it.

So, the only financial fix left on the table will be the half-percent income tax increase that voters will decide on Tuesday at the polls. Ironton's current income tax is set at 1 percent and can only be increased by the voters.

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"I think it goes without saying that all the members of council and the mayor and his staff would be appreciative if the citizens of Ironton would pass the half-percent income tax increase," Price said after the fee was nixed. "The increase would put us in a position to move the city forward Š allow for items of economic development and allow us to move ahead in a positive manner."

Chairman Tordiff said he was disappointed that the $10 fee did not pass and wondered how the city was going to prepare a balanced budget without a definite revenue stream. According to Mayor John Elam's conservative estimate, the city will end 2005 with only $300 in carryover, compared to more than $750,000 at the end of 2003.

"We have no margin for error," Elam said. "We are already hitting bumps and the year hasn't even started yet."

Tordiff asked the rest of council if they had any thoughts about revenue ideas or the need for work sessions.

The only answer he received was a prolonged silence. Then Price spoke up and urged residents to support the tax increase. Later, Tordiff asked council if they did not believe that the budget issues were serious.

Again, silence.

Eventually, Nenni spoke up and said he believes it would be premature to try to do anything until after voters have the opportunity to make their decisions. In the past, other council members have opposed the various fixes for a variety of reasons that include their beliefs that the people do not support the $10 fee, the perception of areas that can be cut or just the opposition to any type of fee increase.

Council also heard first reading of an ordinance that would increase sewer rate by $1.45 per thousand gallons over the next three years. Currently, rates are $4.05 per thousand gallons.

In other business, Council:

4Amended the 2004 budget

4Authorized the purchase of steel trench boxes for sewer repairs

4Approved a salary resolution for the newly hire Assistant Finance Director Nate Kline at a salary of $31,500.

4Asked Mayor Elam about a dedication plaque that will be placed at the fire station. Elam said it is ready and will be placed soon.