News Column

Lyndhurst residents to decide on earned income tax increase Aug. 5

August 2, 2014

By Andrew Cass, The News-Herald, Willoughby, Ohio

Aug. 02--Lyndhurst residents will decide Aug. 5 whether to increase the city's earned income tax from 1.5 to 2 percent.

If approved, the increase is expected to raise $2 million annually for the city and would go into effect in January.

Councilman Pat Ward, chairman of the Finance Committee, said council is asking for an increase because of cuts to the Local Government Tax and the loss of the estate tax.

"By the end of next year, it is anticipated we could come to a point where we could not be able to pass a temporary budget to take us into 2016," Ward said in May. "So that's not something where you could sit around and wait until that happens. We have to prepare for that now."

Ward added that the city had previously considered asking for the increase in 2012, but ultimately decided against it because of final distribution of the estate tax they were not anticipating.

In May, council approved a $30,000 contract with Melamed Communications, LLC. to provide outside consulting work for educational information about the earned income tax increase issue.

Melamed Communications held two tele-town halls in June. Ward said the events were held in an attempt to educate the community about what is being proposed after Finance Committee meetings dedicated to discussing the increase had low turnout.

He said he can't tell Lyndhurst residents how to vote, but said council has the responsibility to make sure the people have the information available to make an educated decision.

Ward said he was pleasantly surprised with the turnout of the tele-town halls, the first of which attracted 850 residents.

Council members also answered questions about the proposed increase at a "coffee with council" event in June.

The special election will cost the city $27,600.

If voted down, council could choose to again put the earned income tax increase on the November ballot.


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Source: News-Herald (Willoughby, OH)

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