Washingtonville council weighs option to impose income tax

WASHINGTONVILLE — After a presentation by Chuck Hawk, the marketing director for the Regional Income Tax Agency about implementing a 1 percent income tax, Mayor Herman Frank said, “I don’t think anyone wants a personal income tax.”

Hawk said the village could enact a one-percent income tax without placing it on the ballot and if a 2.5-mill operating levy on the Nov. 7 ballot fails for the fourth time, council will consider the income tax.

It could be as much as 1 percent, but Fiscal Officer Dale Davis said it could be lower, say .5 percent or .75 percent.

The 2.5-mill operating levy voters are being asked to approve will generate $18,700 annually and amounts to $52.50 a year on a $60,000 house, or a dollar a week.

The levy is used for the daily operations in the village.

Hawk presented council with a detailed summary of what RITA can do, it’s history and projected income the village can collect from its implementation.

The 1 percent tax will generate $140,000 a year, but in the first year the village would collect about 30 to 40 percent of that, Hawk explained, adding that in the second year, the village would see 60 percent and in the third year it would receive the full amount.

If the levy fails, Davis said the village could hold three readings on the income tax and money would start being collected in 2018.

Hawk laid out a number of features and services offered to the municipalities regarding collection and taxpayer assistance.

He said 286 Ohio municipalities in 73 counties are members of RITA, a non-profit agency that was formed in 1971.

He said the agency has it own compliance and enforcement and people who fail to file their taxes are subject to administrative subpoena.

“We provide taxpayer assistance that is open on Saturdays during the tax season,” Hawk said and invited council members to visit the nearest RITA office in Brecksville and visit its website: www.ritaohio.com.

Councilman Al Vignon noted residents pay where they work and will pay in the village because there isn’t a tax credit.

“You’ll pay in both places because you don’t have a taxpayer credit,” he said.

The village can enact a one-percent tax or under, Hawk said, “but things can happen — referendum,” a voter initiative to overturn it.

Frank said, “We’ve had a levy voted down three times.”

Councilwoman Peggy Frank said, “We can’t get a levy. We’re running out of money.”

She said the snow has to be plowed, there’s police protection at stake “and now we’re being backed in (to a corner) … it’s not fair, speaking as a retired person I would rather pass the levy and have everyone pay.”

Councilwoman Becky Vignon said the income tax would put more of the financial burden “on fewer of us and I don’t like that.”

No action was taken and Councilwoman Frank said, “There’s a lot here.”

Mayor Frank said after the meeting that if the 2.5 mill operating levy is passed on Nov. 7, all this talk of an income tax disappears.

Trick or Treat in the village is set for 4-6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 29.

l shields@salemnews.net