July 30, 2014

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Sheffield Lake voters reject new income tax to replace safety equipment

SHEFFIELD LAKE — The Sheffield Lake Police Department will have to continue using its old police cruisers after voters passed on a proposal to raise the city’s income tax — a tax which would have been used to replace aging safety equipment.

More than half of the voters — 63 percent — voted against the 0.5 percent income tax increase, according to unofficial voting results.

Mayor Dennis Bring said, given the voting results, the police department will likely face numerous cuts, including getting rid of overtime hours.

“We’re at bare bones now, and things are going to get really bad,” he said.

The proposed income tax increase would generate approximately $550,000 to $600,000 a year, the Sheffield Lake Finance Department estimated. That money would replace revenue lost in the city’s General Fund, and would fund safety forces which Bring said are suffering.

Bring said many of the police cruisers have “very high mileage,” and will have to continue operating as such. He said three to four cars have more than 117,000 miles.

Bring, who was vague on what exactly would be cut, said he would have to sit down with the police chief and iron out a plan. He cited a lack of attendance at City Council meetings and uniformed voters who believed the city spent all its money on a shopping center – something he denied came from the General Fund – as reasons why the proposal failed.

“Nobody comes to meetings,” he said. “We have Council meetings, and we have one or two people there … but people are busy, and the economy is not the best.”

Voting turnout was poor, according to the unofficial voting results. Just 588 people voted – 368 against the income tax increase and 220 for the increase.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.

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