By Victor Milani
IS THERE EVER A GOOD TIME TO RAISE TAXES??
If you are a mayor, or public official, such as I was as Mayor of Northfield Village for twelve years, you never want to mention the terms raise taxes, put a levy on the ballot, or deduct income tax credits. People scorn you, and ask where has the money gone to previously? Is the city/village being prudent in their spending habits? How much fat can be trimmed from the current budget? There are ways to pay for everything, it’s just how, and who, and how fast can they be paid back. If the community has cash in the general fund, that’s the easy solution. The problem arises with the local government funding being cut back every year in Columbus. The trickle down to the local communities has nearly run dry. Local governments are running out of fiscal rabbits to pull out of their hats to pay for road and infrastructure projects. Paying cash ( if they have it in reserve) is a short term solution, but then a cash flow/ budget issue for years, and can leave a town cash short for emergency/rainy day projects. Officials can take out notes/bonds or grants out to cover infrastructure repairs, and pay over a period of time. This method can help you get more projects done, at the current price of repairs, but obviously there is interest payments included in the price. I was fortunate as Mayor, when Northfield Village Engineer Rich Wasosky received 20 years, 0% interest loans on grants to rebuild many roads in Northfield Village. Northfield saved tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments! But a city must meet a certain fiscal desperation criteria to obtain such Issue 1 or 2 grants. Northfield, Macedonia or any town in Nordonia Hills would be hard pressed currently to meet such designation.
New Macedonia Mayor Joe Migliorini came into office with many issues staring him in the face. He so far has replaced the Finance Director, Law Director, and Service Department Supt, just to name three major changes in his administration. The once volatile Macedonia Council Meetings are now civil in nature, and the bickering is now kept to a minimum. There is usually a “honeymoon period” when any new Mayor and Council first come together. The public can see there is a difference in ”management style” between the way former Mayor Don Kuchta ran Macedonia, and the way current Mayor Joe Milgiorini will run Macedonia. It certainly benefits Mayor Migliorini that this council seems to work with him better than it did with Mayor Kuchta. One would be naive to think that the inclusion of new Councilor Kevin Bilkie has shifted the Council majority to the Mayor’s side.
This is one of three options that Mayor Joe Migliorini is considering as a method to make improvements:
CITY OF MACEDONIA INCOME TAX ORDINANCE
Effective January 1, 2016
Ordinance No.125-2015 Proposed Amendment
SECTION 6 CREDIT FOR TAX PAID TO OTHER MUNICIPALITIES.
- Every individual taxpayer domiciled inthe City of Macedonia who is required to and does pay, or has acknowledged liability for, a municipal tax to another municipality on or measured by the same income, qualifying wages, commissions, net profits or other compensation taxable under this chapter/ordinance may claim a nonrefundable credit upon satisfactory evidence of the tax paid to the other municipality. Subject to division (C) of this section, the credit shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the tax due City of Macedonia under this chapter/ordinance.
Each mayor has different means to make improvements. NO MAYOR LIKES TO RAISE TAXES OR INCREASE LEVYS! But anything and everything comes at a price! Improvements to roads, safety forces, employee payroll and benefits go higher every year. The constant ”robbing Peter to pay Paul” routine finally comes to where Peter has nothing left to take. The manner in which public schools are being funded was ruled unconstitutional years ago, yet still allowed. The public sector continues to get hit with that bill. That being said, Nordonia Hills still has one of the most favorable tax rates in Summit County..That’s a fact, believe it or not. We DO get our bang for our buck! Everybody in Macedonia and Nordonia Hills communities’ desire smooth roads, better safety forces, and more services from our Service Departments.
The challenges grow for local governments as to how to fund them. It is a tightrope every local official walks. My suggestion years ago of regionalization of services got as far as the forming of Fire District 27, having Northfield Center covering both themselves and Sagamore Hills. Northfield Village was covering EMT/fire for Walton Hills. That lasted only six months into a change of Northfield Village administration from me, to Mayor Nehez. While I was Mayor, Nordonia Hills communities commissioned a $30,000 survey on how to REDUCE cost and regionalize services. The survey echoed exactly what I and Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black recommended, to regionalize services. IT FELL ON DEAF EARS AND WAS IGNORED for the most part. Residents want, deserve and demand improvements. Public officials are running out of ways, without raising taxes as well as the ire of the taxpayers, to do so. REGIONIALIZATION OF SERVICES is one way to cut costs, and not duplicate what other towns purchase and services being provided.. Until that occurs, your funding options are getting fewer, as your taxes go higher. The manner in which we duplicate services must change! The way we do business must include REGIONIALIZATION TO SURVIVE! This should start in our backyard of Nordonia Hills.