So. Solon tax repealed; council weighs options

When South Solon Village Council meets on Nov. 10, the big topic of discussion will be council’s response to the voters’ repeal of the village’s 1 percent income tax.

Former South Solon mayor David Karkan submitted the initiative petition to put the question on the Nov. 4 election ballot. Residents voted in favor of the repeal 88-51, which means collection of the tax stops on Jan. 1, 2009.

That is unless South Solon council decides to reinstate the income tax. According to council member Vince Benedetti, Ohio law allows governing bodies of municipalities to pass ordinances for up to a 1 percent income tax without putting it on the ballot. That’s how South Solon’s income tax came to be in 1996.

Benedetti said that reinstating the tax is just one of the options council could consider. As of Nov. 5, he said he did not know if an ordinance to that effect would be on the council agenda for the Nov. 10 meeting. If it is, council can declare it an emergency, vote on it that night, and either make it effective immediately or name an effective date. Or, council could hold the typical three readings on the ordinance after which it would be posted for 30 days for public comment.

If council does not decide to reinstate the tax, Benedetti said they will have to make major cuts to village services. In 2007, the income tax generated approximately $30,000 which represents about one-third of South Solon’s general fund.

“We have to look at the budget and see if there is room to cut that much,” Benedetti said, adding that possibilities include eliminating council salaries, part-time labor for leaf pickup, and a just-in-case fund for drainage issues.

That likely wouldn’t be enough, he said: “My personal opinion is that I don’t see how the village can cover its expenses without (the income tax).”

Another option is a combination of cuts and a tax. Council also could put an income tax on the ballot; the next opportunity would be the May 2009 primary election. However, the latter option, if passed, would leave a five-month gap in tax collection because the repeal takes effect on Jan. 1.

South Solon Village Council’s next meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in the village office at 7120 North St.

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