Salem council eyes tax increase for roads, K-9 units

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SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – People living in Salem had 30 minutes Monday evening to say if they support a tax increase to fix roads and to help the police department get one or two drug-sniffing dogs.

“I would rather have an income tax because you got to look at the old people,” one resident said.

“I hope everybody gets behind it because we do need it,” another resident said.

“I am here this evening to discuss my opposing views of recent talks on introducing drug dogs to our police task force,” a resident said.

Since the mid-to-late 1960’s, Salem has had a 1 percent income tax. Over the course of time, the amount of money generated by that income tax to fix roads has decreased.

Council president Bret Apple said improving the streets will have a big price tag, possibly in the millions of dollars.

At the same time, the police chief is asking for two dogs to help with the drug problem.

“The big thing we have to figure out is how are we going to pay for it?,” Apple said.

Right now, there are at least three different options for taxpayers. Option one includes a quarter-to-half-percent increase to the income tax.

The next option would let people vote on an increase to their property tax. The last choice would be a combination of options one and two.

Right now, council is looking into the exact costs for road repairs and the K-9 units. As for the dogs, Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said a number of people have said they would help with the costs.

“People are strapped. They don’t want to pay extra taxes. I understand that,” Panezott said.

City council is looking at having a decision made by the beginning of August.

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