M'ville going back to voters

Aaron Krause • Oct 29, 2015 at 11:58 AM

MONROEVILLE Myth: Monroeville's income tax affects a person's pension and Social Security.

Fact: It only affects a person's earned income.

"There's a lot of myths and a lot of confusion as to who pays and who doesn't," village administrator Josh Eggleston said. "We want to debunk some of those myths."

Village officials are trying to do so ahead of a proposed one-half percent income tax increase on November's ballot. It will mark the second time in as many years officials ask Monroeville voters to approve a one-half percent income tax proposal.

Last year's measure failed 292 to 140, or 68 percent to 32 percent. Had it passed, the measure would have raised about $240,000 annually for various village services.

Monroeville enacted its current 1-percent income tax in 1986. It has never increased, according to village councilman Robert Simon in a letter to the Reflector.

"Even though the percentage has not gone up, the amount of revenue the village collects climbs," countered a resident responding online to Simon's letter. "I mean, if you made for example $30,000 back in 1986 you paid $300 or 1 percent to the village. Now if you make $40,000 you pay $400. So the village makes more money."

Village Clerk/Treasurer Bonnie Beck said the village also depends, for example, on local government revenue assistance from the state. However, after 9/11, state officials placed a freeze on those funds, and have yet to lift it.

The village instituted a wage freeze in 2004, and since that time has not enacted a wage increase larger than 25 cents an hour, Beck said.

"I can't remember the last time we added a new position," Beck added.

"We've tried to stay above water in the last few years and now we have some capital improvements catching up to us," Eggleston said.

Beck said interest rates have plummeted from nearly six percent to one percent and haven't topped 4 1/2 percent since 9/11.

"That's revenue that you count on to put toward your expenditures," she said.

Street paving, sewer work, building maintenance, and the ability to receive grant money has suffered, Simon said. While the village cut services in the wake of last year's levy's failure, more could be on the way, he added.

An alternative to an income tax increase would be special assessments to property owners. The village would added them to real estate taxes home owners now pay.

"If that would happen, many of our older retired residents would be forced to sell their homes," Simon said. "They would not be financially able to pay the special assessments."

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