Voters say 'no' to income tax levy
Reynoldsburg voters overwhelmingly defeated a 1-percent income tax on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The levy, which would have increased the city’s income tax from 1.5 to 2.5 percent, was defeated 62.60 percent to 37.40 percent or 6,912 votes against and 4,129 votes in favor.
“I was surprised that it didn’t pass based on the feedback that I was getting from residents,” Mayor Brad McCloud said.
He said residents seemed in favor of the levy once they realized that people who work outside the city of Reynoldsburg would not have seen a tax increase if the levy was approved.
“An overwhelming number of people live in Reynoldsburg and work someplace else,” McCloud said.
Council president William Hills also expressed disappointment that the levy failed. He said he heard very few negative comments about the levy from residents.
“I think it is unfortunate that it didn’t pass,” he said. “Obviously the silent majority voted against the increase.”
Reynoldsburg city officials have been debating ways to deal with the city’s budget crises should the levy initiative fail. Ideas have included freezing elected officials’ salaries and suspending insurance for part-time elected officials. Other potential cuts identified earlier this year could include a reduction in the police force, decreasing money spent on youth sports and possibly closing the senior citizen center.
McCloud said identifying potential cuts has been ongoing for at least a year. He has worked closely with City Auditor Richard Harris to help identify potential cuts.
“We have to let the dust settle and immediately start moving forward,” McCloud said. “There are positions that have gone unfilled - director positions. We have operated on a skeleton crew. The sun will come up and we will move forward in some capacity.”
Hills said it is up to the mayor to bring a realistic budget forward for 2012. The budget will need to accommodate for the proposed deficit, he said.
“The mayor’s budget will need to reflect the $1.3-million hole,” he said. “There will have to be an effort by the administration and council to reduce (the deficit).”
Asked if the city might go back on the ballot with another levy request, McCloud said it is important to look at every option and only council can take certain steps, including approving an issue be placed on the ballot.
“One thing I can say is that nothing is off the table,” he said. “We will look at every option as we move forward.”