Norwalk City Schools will be taking an earned income levy to the voters in the November ballot.
But Tuesday’s 3-2 decision during the special board meeting didn’t come without a lot of discussion — and the same vote going down about 15 minutes earlier. In the final vote, board members Janet Broz, Steve Linder and Ralph Ritzenthaler supported the decision while John Lendrum and Rob Ludwig voted against it.
The 1.25-percent earned income tax would replace the present half-percent tax and last a “continuing amount of time.”
“I’m in favor of the earned income tax,” Broz said, but added it’s obvious there are strong opinions for it and the other option, a 6-mill property tax worth $1.85 million.
The property tax would have lasted five years. When the earned income option went before the board first, the vote was split 2-2 with Broz having said she wouldn’t vote on any levy unless there was a unanimous decision.
At that point, Broz made a motion for adjourning the meeting, but the vote failed. Broz, the board president, and Linder had the supporting votes.
Later, the board decided to vote about sending the property tax to the voters. That went down 3-2 with Lendrum and Ludwig supporting it.
“I truly wasn’t seeing this,” Superintendent Dennis Doughty said at that point.
Doughty, after the meeting, declined to comment about the outcome and referred the Reflector to board members.Ritzenthaler, who had voted for the property taxes during the last two elections, has supported the earned income option since last week’s regular board meeting.
“I just feel the people need another option,” he said after Tuesday’s meeting.
Ritzenthaler, Broz and Linder said the best option is doing “something different.”
“I feel deeply the property tax will go down,” Linder said during the meeting. “We owe it to the people to do something different.”
Lendrum and Ludwig said they couldn’t support the earned income tax because it’s not equitable, “unending,” is “carving out one segment of the community” and “there’s no cap on it.”
Earned income is defined as wages, salaries, tips, other employee compensation and self-employment income from sole proprietorships and partnerships, according to state tax information.
Residents wouldn’t pay school district income tax on any other types of incomes such as retirement, unemployment compensation, worker’s comp, lottery winnings, interest, dividends, capital gains, profit from rental activities, distributive shares of profit from S-corporations, received alimony, distributions from trusts and estates and all other types of income that aren’t earned income but are part Ohio adjusted gross income.