A 0.75 percent local income tax increase will be decided by Wellington voters this November after village council unanimously agreed Monday, July 2 to put it on the ballot.
If approved, it would raise the tax rate to 1.75 percent but also include a tax credit of the same amount for those who live in Wellington and pay taxes to another municipality where they work.
At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25, a public information session will be held in council chambers to discuss the tax plan.
Wellington has operated at a one percent income tax rate since 1972, with the only major change being a 2002 vote by council that did away with a one percent tax credit for residents who work outside the village.
Voters rejected a proposed half-percent increase by a 738-297 margin in 2004.
The newest proposed tax plan would generate $723,000 to $773,000 per year. Annual revenue from individuals would drop $231,322 with gains coming from withholding ($828,442) and net business profit ($151,251).
“I feel confident that we’re going to put our best foot forward,” said mayor Hans Schneider. “We’re not going to limit our talks with residents to planned meetings. If any resident has questions and wants to just sit down and talk on their front porch I’ll be happy to do that as I’m sure members of council would as well.”
Current annual local income tax revenue sits at roughly $1.8 million, with $465,156 from individuals, $1.1 million in withholding, and $183,187 net business profit making up that amount.
Proponents of the increase, including village manager Steve Dupee, say it is needed to avoid a 2019 general fund deficit, maintain the level of village services, and finance capital improvements like finding a new home for the Wellington police department.
The former Elyria Savings and Trust building on East Herrick Avenue has been tabbed as the likely new police station, with renovation costs expected to fall around $1.5 million.
“The village has an obligation to provide a number of services to its residents like police, public works, snow removal, and the maintenance of our parks,” Dupee said. “It’s imperative the municipal income tax increase allows us to continue to provide those services. We believe the community wants those services for the long-term but those services are being challenged by the fact we’ve had the same income tax since 1972.”
Oberlin has a municipal tax rate of 2.5 percent and offers a 2.5 percent tax credit for those who’ve already paid taxes to other municipalities. Both LaGrange and Grafton come in at 1.5 percent with a 1.5 percent credit.
“I think people have a fear of lack of money in their wallet,” Schneider said. “I think everyone feels that way. We’re going to the residents because we have a fear of lack of money in our wallet, or in our budget, to accomplish certain things this community needs to have done and needs to move forward. These things need done to maintain the quality of life and scope of services our residents have come to expect.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.