April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria mayor laying groundwork for income tax push

Mayor Holly Brinda gives her state of the city address before guests and members of the Elyria Rotary Club. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Mayor Holly Brinda gives her state of the city address before guests and members of the Elyria Rotary Club. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Tuesday’s Address could also be called Mayor Holly Brinda’s subtle laying of the groundwork for a November income tax push.

During the nearly 90-minute speech, Brinda, who is starting her third year in office, would highlight a financial or operational accomplishment in the city only to follow it up with grim words about bigger woes to come.

The $3.4 million windfall from previously uncollected insurance funds was a godsend for the city, but the upcoming expiration of two federal grants paying for police and firefighters will put the city in the hole to the tune of $1.34 million.

This good news-bad news dichotomy dominated her segment on safety and the state of Elyria’s Police Department.

Budgeted for up to 85 officers on the payroll, the department employs 79 — four are new recruits and are not counted in manpower numbers, said Police Chief Duane Whitely. The reduction in staffing in the department means overtime has reached near-record numbers and officers are dealing with more intense operations.

“These guys are on top of the crime in this city, but we don’t have enough of them,” he said.

After the address, Brinda said safety will be a big part of her campaign to hopefully convince City Council members to place a tax measure on the ballot. She has not done any community polling to justify the use of safety and the Police Department as the foundations of her message, but the realities of current life in Elyria speak loudly, she said.

“The city shut down the Narcotics Unit a few years back and that gave the drug dealers time to get a foothold in our city,” she said. “Our officers are doing everything they can to combat that in our neighborhoods to break the cycle of drugs and burglaries.”

Brinda pointedly said Elyria needs more officers.

She wants the budget to fund 90 officers.

She believes a scenario that will put the Fire Department at 65 firefighters is best for the city. Combined with 90 officers, the price tag would be $2.1 million, the mayor said.

Brinda said in the coming weeks she will continue the conversation on how to increase revenue. If placing an issue on the ballot is the favored choice, she said she would favor reducing the income tax credit for residents who work outside the city. Currently, the credit is 100 percent.

Finance Director Ted Pileski has yet to run the numbers on how much of a rollback would be needed to generate the revenue required to aid the safety forces.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • Larry

    People who work outside the city should not be double taxed. Before RITA, tax money collected went back to the workers city they lived in. Why can’t this be done now?

    • Guest

      Because as a good Democrat, they want the other guy to pay for things.

  • Toad

    more taxs. she has to be a republickan

    • Mark B

      Sorry , Elyria and Lorain County has been controlled by Democants as long as anyone can remember , and look at the shape both are in .. Tax and over spend
      Tax and over spend
      Tax and over spend

  • Pablo Jones

    “she said she would favor reducing the income tax credit for residents
    who work outside the city. Currently, the credit is 100 percent.”

    So instead of those people living in the city and paying property tax they will move out of the city. Smart move.

  • Mark B

    How can you keep expecting the average working person in elyria to keep paying more and more and more in Taxes. The average working persons income is about 35-40 k a year, and you keep taxing us every election, The Schools , The Library, LCCC , Now the county is going to have 2 new Levys on the ballot and here comes Elyria with another Levy. The working people of Elyria is not making 70 – 150 k like all of the city employes are , we are taxed to the max , we cant afford any more new taxes. The you hvae city workers that only work half a day and still get paid for a full day and this continues to go on . Honestly how can you sleep at night asking the average working hosehold in this city to continue to be taxed and taxed every election we pay more in taxes , but our wages are not growing at that rate , a new tax will be taking food oout of families mouths that are just getting by now, But the sanitation workers still are getting a full days pay for a half a days work . Maybe you should take half their salery and use it instead of a tax levy.

  • Phil Seguin

    It is ALWAYS a revenue problem and NEVER a spending problem. Good luck attracting new businesses when you increase the cost to operate in your town.

  • tj21269 .

    In the case of all municipalities the fact is they are all working with less, the problem comes in when the residents expect the same level of service even though revenue falls away, can you imagine the out cry if these municipalities cut to the bone, the majority of the residents would be crying foul, not just a few

    • Mark B

      The proble is that the cities continue to be wastefull , union contracts continue to require more and more money each year to provide the same service. The employees are lazy and protected. The unfunded liabilities are un sustainable and the cities only answer is to keep asking for more money to keep afloat. The continue to pay longevity pay. The continue to allow certain department to work 20 hours a week , but continue to pay them for 40 . Its time to run the city like it would be run in the private sector .

    • Pablo Jones

      There are less people in town and more government workers. Walk into a city department, they barely work during the day. Government budgets have grown much faster than inflation yet they still don’t have enough money. They are at near record levels of revenue, not dealing with less. They may have had more money in 2006-07 but they are only a few percent short of those numbers. Elyria school’s budget for wages and benefit increases roughly $500,000 a year even though they close schools and serve fewer kids.

    • Joe Smith

      They wouldn’t be cut to the bone if they worked smart

    • Phil Seguin

      Absolute nonsense – pull Elyria’s CAFR – they aren’t “doing more with less” – you will see a steady increase in City revenue over time. If my employees get a raise – so does the City

  • Linda Groves

    I don’t know about anyone else ,but I WILL be voting=NO MORE TAXES!!! As a home owner, I AM sick and tired of paying more and more taxes !! This city/county needs to learn to budget the money they get and quit wasteful spending!! That goes for the city and schools!!

  • Michael Meecha

    PROTIP: If you’re planning on having the EPD go door-to-door stumping for this levy (as you did the previous one), please equip them with something better than “You need to vote for this levy because Elyria’s tax rate is currently lower than most of the surrounding municipalities.”

    This is exactly what I was told during the previous levy push; no expansion on what services the increase would be funding, nothing. In addition to being an extremely poor reason to vote for the levy, it is grossly inaccurate.

    • Mad Junk

      omg wutever dude

  • Toad

    Just bring a train into town. With all the economic value this will bring, soon nobody in Elyria will have to pay any taxes.

    We will be drowning in money!