Niles leadership regrouping after voters reject tax raise

niles ohio

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Niles city officials are going back to the drawing board after voters said no to raising their own income taxes.

Incoming Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia will take office January 1 and talked to WKBN Wednesday about what will happen going forward.

The plan for Niles’ city government was to increase people’s income tax by 0.25%, bringing the total tax to 1.75%.

That would have given an extra $600,000 to the city in 2016, and $900,000 in 2017.

While 44% agreed to the tax increase, 56%, or about 700 more people, did not.

“Nobody likes taxes, or an increase,” Scarnecchia said. “Especially with the political situation as it is in Niles, the administration, they don’t trust it.”

Scarnecchia will take office January 1. He said there won’t be change until people start trusting the government again.

“First of all, we’re going to let the public know, constantly, what’s going on, what we have, what we need,” Scarnecchia said.

City leaders said they needed that money to pay for police officers and firefighters.

“We still have a budget that we need to abide by next year,” Scarnecchia said.

Niles City Auditor Giovanne Merlo said that changes to the fiscal plan are up next.

“Every day, we’re moving into different areas of our budget, where the city is right now,” Merlo said. “We’re going to start doing budget hearings here shortly.”

Scarnecchia said he’ll begin having discussions about the budget in December.

“I do not believe in layoffs, especially of our safety forces,” Scarnecchia said. “We need our safety forces more than anything. We just have to really analyze it, that’s the way it is now.”

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