Canfield voters to decide on income tax hike Tuesday

Canfield income tax hike on ballot Tuesday

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – People living in the city of Canfield have a big decision to make next week.

A half percent increase in the earned income tax is on the special election ballot Tuesday. If approved, the tax would go to 1.5 percent.

Residents said they are surprised there is not more chatter about the vote because safety services could see reductions if it does not pass.

John Turek has lived in Canfield for 30 years.

“The reason we moved here initially was because of the amenities it provides. The safety, security. And we love Canfield. They do a great job,” Turek said.

He has mixed feelings about the income tax increase.

“Initially, I was very against it. Starting to waffle around a bit,” Turek said.

Because the tax is only on earned income, it won’t effect retired people drawing pensions like Turek. But he worries about younger families.

“Just starting out and 1.5 percent is going to be tight for them,” Turek said.

At the same time, he understands where city officials are coming from.

“It wasn’t due to mismanagement or anything like that. Just a lack of funding from the government,” Turek said.

City Manager Joe Warino said the city has lost $1 million from its general fund over the past three years because the state cut money from the local government fund and did away with the estate tax.

And things are expected to get worse with tax cuts for small businesses in the most recent budget.

“The city of Canfield does not have any large industry or business. We rely upon our small businesses and that is going to be another cut to city finances,” Warino said.

Warino said the increase would make up most of the lost money. Without it, neighbors will see changes in services they have come to expect.

“Obviously, there may have to be cuts at some point. We would start with the non-mandated services. Reduction in snow removal, brush pickup, leaf pickup, things of that nature. Then move on to other department cuts,” Warino said.

Those are changes that Turek does not want to see.

“Once you miss those things, once they’re gone, that is when you realize how important and valuable they are,” he said.

Warino says the city is going into the election without a lot of feedback from neighbors. Meetings about the tax have been sparsely attended and there have been few calls.

He said if anyone has any questions or concerns, they can call city hall and get those answered.

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