Streetsboro ballot issues taxing on residents’ minds

Sarah McGrath

Streetsboro residents will vote on two tax issues this November that could save a majority of residents money, but at the same time, could double the income tax for a small minority.

Issue 10 on the Nov. 4 ballot is a proposal to double the current income tax from 1 to 2 percent for anyone working in Streetsboro, including the 1,800 residents who live and work within city limits.

In conjunction with the tax increase is Issue 11, a proposed 2 percent tax credit for those residents who live in Streetsboro but work outside of the city.

This credit will only go into effect if both issues are approved. If the voters only pass Issue 11, neither tax issue will go into effect.

If voters were to approve both issues, the city would receive an additional $2.9 million in income tax revenue, said Streetsboro Finance Director Ted Gordon. This money would come, in part, from the 1,800 residents who live and work in the city but also from any worker who does not live in Streetsboro.

“The additional revenue that is generated by increasing the tax rate for all people working in Streetsboro will exceed the money that we would lose by giving a credit to those that live here but work somewhere else,” said Gordon, who does not live in the city and would have to pay the increased tax. “This is truly a win-win situation.”

Currently, Streetsboro has a 1 percent income tax and no tax credit in place for those residents who live within city limits but work in another city. This means that a resident must pay two separate income taxes – one to the city they work in and one to Streetsboro – without any relief.

By enacting a tax credit, those residents who work outside the city will no longer have to pay the extra income tax to Streetsboro. If both issues were to pass, the majority of residents would not experience a tax increase – rather, they would experience a tax decrease because of the tax credit, Gordon explained.

A brochure mailed to all households in Streetsboro explained that only 1,800 residents out of the 12,000 living in the city, said Gordon, will see a 1 percent tax increase because they live and work within city limits. The 5,500 residents who work outside the city will see a tax decrease because of the tax credit.

“This is not a tax increase, but a tax relief for most of the residents,” said councilwoman Emerylde Bradley, who represents residents in Ward 2 of Streetsboro. “Only a small percentage of the population will experience a slight increase.”

The $2.9 million that would be generated from the tax increase would go to essential services provided by the city, such as fire protection, road repairs and city improvement programs. This would increase Streetsboro’s yearly budget of $18 million by more than 15 percent, said Mayor Thomas Wagner who helped create the tax increase, tax credit combination.

Streetsboro is dependent upon money generated through the income tax to support services provided by the city. Wagner explained that the city does not have separate tax levies to pay for such services as fire and police protection. If this new tax program were to pass, the city would be able to hire much needed personnel for the fire and police departments.

“It’s important because we have no other way to support our city services but through this income tax,” said Wagner.

Contact public affairs reporter Sarah McGrath at [email protected].