Faced with rising costs, including a 22% jump in health care premiums coming in 2017, reductions in funding from the State of Ohio and the elimination of some taxes, the Swanton Village Council discussed several tax increase options to generate revenue at their meeting on Monday, December 12.
One way would be to raise the Village income tax rate from 1.25% to 1.50% which would put Swanton in line with Archbold, Delta, Fayette and Wauseon. Currently, Metamora with 1.00% is the only Fulton County municipality with a tax rate lower than Swanton’s. Compared to Lucas County, the Swanton rate is below all its municipalities and well below the 2.25% local tax rate charged by Holland, Oregon and Toledo.
Income tax is the largest source of revenue for the Village, generating approximately $1.3 million annually. However, cuts in state funding which took effect after Governor John Kasich in took office in 2011, saw a 45.8% drop in revenue from 2010 to 2013 or $58,678 less. The elimination of the estate tax in 2013 saw Swanton receive $89,931 less than in 2012.
If the Council chooses this option it would need voter approval by way of a levy on the ballet, most likely in May of 2017. The last time Swanton voters passed an income tax levy was in 1989. Three subsequent levies, each for a .50%, have been defeated since, twice in 2001 and once in 2005. The 2005 levy, which would have been used to fund the Police Department, failed by more than a two to one margin.
Another option to increase revenue discussed by the Council was the elimination of a tax credit given to Swanton residents who work in another municipality where they are taxed at a rate over 1.00%. These residents get a 50% tax credit on their Swanton tax obligation.
Basically, their rate drops to 0.625%. Eliminating this credit would only require the passage of an ordinance by the Council and would generate approximately $128,895. “Many municipalities throughout the State have been reducing tax credits due to the decrease in State funding,” stated Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle in her report.
A third option, also requiring the passage of a levy, would involve the increase of millage on an existing operating fund or adding another operating fund with a pre-determined millage. Revenue from this category would come from property taxes. The average Swanton household currently pays about $70 per year in property taxes to the Village. Any increase in taxes would not go into effect until 2018.
New business issues saw the approval of ordinances for the renewal of Fire Service Contracts with Fulton Township and Swancreek Township. Another ordinance covered the Solicitor Contract with Alan Lehenbauer of The McQuades Co., L.P.A.
A request to change the zoning of a parcel on Airport Highway from Central Business to One Family Residential was denied by the Planning Commission with a 4-0 vote. The Commission stated that “Airport Highway is intended to attract commercial development and therefore this property and all adjacent property should be zoned B3 (commercial).”
The next Council meeting will be held after the end of the year.
Bill O’Connell may be reached at email@example.com