September 17, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria officials plan campaign to seek support for income tax increase

ELYRIA — The countdown to the November general election is on, and city officials have 90 days to convince Elyria residents that their newest plan to raise taxes is the right way to go.

Mayor Holly Brinda said she anticipates needing a lot of community volunteers and at least $40,000 in donations before Election Day to pull off a successful campaign. She said this won’t be like last November when the city just had to convince voters to pass a temporary tax that had been on the books for decades and cost residents no additional money.

The city would like voters to increase Elyria’s income tax rate from its current 1.75 percent to 2 percent with a 0.25 percent, five-year temporary tax in November.

The estimated $3.2 million from the increase would include $2 million for additional police officers and firefighters, as well as money for the purchase of safety equipment in each department, emergency road repairs as needed and more crime prevention work in the Police Department. In the second year, $80,000 would go to auxiliary police officers in the form of $3,000 stipends and a police academy scholarship program.

If passed, the tax would expire June 30, 2019, about the same time the city’s current 0.25 temporary tax will be up for renewal.

“I don’t want to say this is the most critical step the citizens should take, but it’s certainly one of the last steps in three years toward financial stability for the city,” Brinda said Tuesday. “If it doesn’t pass, it really would change the dynamics in the city of Elyria.”

The campaign season will be short for those knocking on doors, making phone calls and handing out literature — all things Brinda said volunteers will have to do if the measure is to succeed — but the mayor said her administration has been building the case for a tax increase.

“We knew pretty much from the beginning. The approach taken was pretty strategic because we knew when we took office the finances would be a dilemma for us,” Brinda said. “But we couldn’t do anything until we could prove we were good fiscal stewards of the city.”

The state performance audit and $2 million in adjustments made as a result and successfully passing the income tax renewal all were part of the plan. Even the just-unveiled economic development plan was done with that in mind.

“There are things we know we need to do as economic incentives to grow, expand and retain jobs in the city to grow our tax base. We are behind the curve in a lot of areas,” Brinda said.

However, focusing on economic development while trying to figure out how to put more firefighters and police officers on the street will not allow the city to move quickly enough.

Brinda wants residents — she also has encouraged City Council to get involved — to help get the message out in the form of letters to the editor, testimonial stories and at community meetings. Brinda said this will be a traditional, grassroots campaign along with a substantial amount of social media work.

Councilman Mark Craig, I-4th Ward, the only Council member to vote against placing a tax issue before voters, has long said the city has not given enough information to justify raising the tax rate at this time. He would like to hear more details about projected revenues, expenses and anticipated net gains and losses in all of the upcoming budgets.

The first campaign meeting that is open to the public will be 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 28 at City Hall. The first fundraiser is set for 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Elyria Moose Lodge, 555 Ternes Ave.

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


  • Sis Delish

    The Mayor asking Citizens for another $40k. Was there an audit of the Last $40k raised on The Mayor’s Website?

    • Exposing Trolls

      Everything okay there at the paper Bruce?

  • Mark B

    How many more tax increases will there be before this “Temporary” Tax expires? Fact is that it will NEVER EXPIRE. when it is time for it to expire they will come back at us and ask for a renewal because it is not a tax increase . Its time for the city to get their house in order. There are entire departments that only work half a day , but yet get paid for 8 hours. Still too many city vehicles driving around all day doing NOTHING. I don’t see a need for more Police in Elyria , Elyria is OVER policed with the Ohio State Patrol on Just about every city street handing out tickets. Actually we could afford to get rid of some city police and just let OSP handle it.

    • luvmytoaster

      So true…..

  • Peter Aldrich

    THe “police tax” in ’91 (or so) was to give us 100 police officers, yadda, yadda, yadda. I’ve seen how the city works first hand. Not an easy sell to me…….

  • todd

    No chance

  • todd

    If the tax was to open up the City jail I’d say yes BUT since it’s for spending I say NO CHANCE!!! And I will do my own campaign against it Mrs. Mayor.

  • bigmacky

    I want it all – I want it all – the democratic way – more taxes – no responsibility for actions – hey how about not hiring friends and relatives or double dippers? eliminate nepotism – we want this but YOU gotta pay for it – and an income tax? how is that even close to fair? a sales tax maybe – that way those who shop pay – oh wait – Elyria is a ghost town with a shopping center (mall) . a smattering of small businesses that barely are making it. look at the amount of management and cut there first – show some commitment on YOUR end

  • bigmacky

    oh and make sure you throw in DOOM AND GLOOM and scare people into voting

  • copperbill

    OSP has NO authority on private property. They should be enforcing traffic laws on state highways, high accident areas etc. They get bored and try to be around cities so they can actually do police work. They need to apply for city policing if they are discouraged about speeders and chasing tail lights all day. We should all be angry they are not on the roads especially after the tragic accidents this past 2 weeks.They are NOT state police.

    • stillsleepyeyes

      sooo their name is all wrong????? ( Ohio state patrol )

      • Mark B

        Ohio State Highway patrol

        • stillsleepyeyes

          Operationally, the Patrol is divided into units whose varying tasks complement the mission of the Patrol to provide safe roadways throughout the state

  • luvmytoaster

    This is ridiculous, bring in new businesses and/or reduce your government.

    What kind of “safety equipment” is needed in EACH department that warrants a tax increase?

    • stillsleepyeyes

      union raises………………………

  • copperbill

    It is the ohio state highway patrol. No authority except state owned property like prisons and roads that use state taxes which is about all roads. Hope this clears up.

  • robertloggia16

    Tax me ’til it hurts!

  • Razorback Twou

    “But we couldn’t do anything until we could prove we were good fiscal stewards of the city.” Well then you can’t do anything then can you?

  • Sis Delish

    Dear Mayor What’s-her-Name: You allowance has been Cut.

    • Exposing Trolls

      Upset Bruce?
      Maybe if you spent less time chasing storms and more time bettering yourself you may actually figure some things out?

  • SniperFire

    Tax the productive people to have more police to chase rock-throwing kids in Wllkes Villa. Makes perfect sense.