The proposed income tax increase for the City of Tiffin will help maintain vital public services, Mayor Aaron Montz said.
This is the first tax increase sought by the city since 1987, Montz said. The quarter-percent income tax increase will help cover nearly $1 million the city lost after the state eliminated the estate tax and local government funding.
"That's the hardest part of this sell, because we're not asking for new money because we're going to do something wonderful for the public," Montz said. "We're asking for this money to maintain what we currently have now. Without it, the public will definitely notice the pinch."
In addition to money cut by the state, Montz said the city has lost money to health care increases and the closing of American-Standard and Excel Wire and Cable, Montz said.
If passed, the income tax would be increased to 2 percent, from 1 3/4 percent. Montz said it would cost the average family about 25 cents a day.
"If it fails is what's scary because that's when residents are going to feel the pinch of this," Montz said. "You will notice when there are many less firemen, less policemen on streets. You're going to notice when public works aren't getting your streets plowed because they've had significant cuts."
Montz said city employment has gone down 13 percent due to cuts and not being able to afford to replace workers who leave. Currently, the city has the same number of policemen as it did in the 1950s.
If the tax increase fails, the city will be down to two ambulances, and on some shifts possibly only one, he said. There also is a likelihood of closing the fire station on the north side of town.
Montz also said the new Dodge Charger squad cars came from a fund specific to capital improvements. The city is required to put 10 percent of income tax into a fund, which is responsible for paying for building maintenance, equipment and automobiles and cannot be used for salaries.