Niles safety forces looking forward to bringing employees back

The income tax increase will go into effect in July

On Wednesday, Niles City Council held its first meeting since the levy was approved by voters. In attendance were members of the city's police and fire departments, which celebrated their colleagues soon return to work.


NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Niles leaders are breathing a little easier after the passage of a 0.5 percent income tax increase during Tuesday’s primary election.

The income tax increase — from 1.5 to 2 percent — is expected to raise $2 million and curtail a looming $1.5 million deficit that the city faced by the end of the year. About two-thirds of voters — just more than 4,000 people — agreed to the increase.

On Wednesday, Niles City Council held its first meeting since the levy was approved by voters. In attendance were members of the city’s police and fire departments, which celebrated their colleagues soon return to work.

“We’re elated about it. The money was desperately needed,” said Niles Fire Lt. Bill Santell.

Last November, Niles voters rejected a 0.25 percent income tax increase. After that, 12 employees were laid off, including firefighters and police officers, to save $600,000.

The income tax increase won’t go into effect until July, but that money is slated for the city’s safety forces. Santell said the department is already looking into the process of getting the laid off employees back.

“It’s a huge safety issue, because actually, we’re six people short,” he said.

The passage of the levy also prevented further layoffs from occurring, as well as a restructuring of the Niles Police Department, which predicted further cuts would prevent officers from taking some calls in the city.

There were some concerned citizens at Wednesday’s meeting. They wanted to ensure that the city will take care of the safety concerns surrounding the cuts of fire and police personnel.

On Thursday, city officials will meet again to discuss the city’s budget with state officials, brought in to oversee the city’s fiscal emergency.

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s