Rogers makes another run at income tax

ROGERS – Village Council has decided to move forward with a vote on whether to impose an income tax on residents and those who work in the village.

The tax measure was on the agenda for Monday’s meeting, which was canceled due to lack of a quorum when only two of the five council members – Jayne Balmenti and Marilyn Locke – showed up.

Mayor Sharon Hebron tentatively rescheduled the meeting for 7 p.m. Thursday, which is when the proposed tax would be brought up on first reading. The ordinance would have to be passed by council at three separate meetings before the 1 percent income tax would go into effect sometime next year.

The decision was made to take this approach rather than ask the tax be enacted as an emergency measure at a single meeting to give the public more opportunities to comment.

“That’s the way they decided to do it and not push it through in one meeting,” Fiscal Officer Dale Davis said.

When asked before if any thought had been given to putting it on the ballot for residents to decide, village officials have said they have no choice since an income tax in the amount of 1 percent is not subject to a vote of the citizenry under Ohio law.

But that is untrue based on information the Morning Journal reported in April after contacting the Ohio Secretary of State, where a spokesman said state law only requires that any income tax in excess of 1 percent be placed voters. There is no legal restriction preventing municipalities of placing a 1 percent tax or less on the ballot.

After researching the income tax issue earlier in the year, council backed off taking any action at its July meeting to further study the matter. Then at its August meeting, Councilman Mike Hunt urged they moved forward on the income tax issue as a way to generate additional money for the revenue-strapped village.

Council decided to move on the income tax measure after receiving no bids from any companies interested in providing traffic camera services for the village. This was after the village opted to draft a lengthy, very detailed proposed contract to protect itself against potential lawsuits that might result from traffic offenders who would challenge the legality of the system.