OBERLIN – Once the voting tallies started rolling in Tuesday evening, it became clear that Oberlin voters declared an income tax increase necessary.
Issue 22 called for raising the tax rate from 1.9 percent to 2.5 percent to offset local government funding cuts as well as the elimination of the estate tax. The 0.6 increase would provide essential services to the city, including police, fire and street services.
According to unofficial returns Tuesday night, 682 voters, or nearly 64 percent, voted in favor of the income tax increase while 384 voted against it.
Oberlin City Manager Eric Norenberg said he was thankful for the support of voters, whom he said recognized the importance of the issue.
“I’m very pleased with the results and very grateful to the citizens of Oberlin,” he said. “I think this demonstrates that voters appreciate the quality of services that the city of Oberlin employees provide each and every day, and I think this also demonstrates that the residents have confidence in our stewardship of their tax dollars.”
The city already has worked to address its tight budget with the majority of city employees taking a three-year pay freeze, as well as paying more for health care. The city has not increased income taxes since 1999, although voters approved an income tax renewal in November.
With the increase, an individual earning $50,000 per year will pay an extra $25 per month.
Norenberg said he wants to assure voters that they made the right decision.
“We will continue to spend their tax dollars wisely, and it’s something that we’ll commit to doing with this approved tax increase,” he said.