WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Voters in Warren decided to pass a 0.5 percent income tax, increasing the city’s rate to 2.5 percent.
The tax increase was approved by nearly 52 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.
The purpose of the increase is to help avoid a budget shortfall by the end of 2017. Warren City Councilman and Finance Chairman Eddie Colbert said the city is facing over a $1 million deficit.
Council members have said that if the increase wasn’t passed, the city would have to lay off police officers.
Colbert said that Warren’s road service is also at a critical level, and would have gotten worse if the tax increase failed.
Many taxpayers felt blindsided by the budget deficit that led to the tax increase proposal, and spoke out against it in August.
In September, a group of Warren citizens formed the Warren Good Governance Committee to look into the tax increase to determine if it was necessary and how it would be spent. The group says it will offer other recommendations besides the increase the city proposed.
Warren Auditor Vince Flask said the tax increase will generate $3.5 to $4 million for the City of Warren.
The tax increase will be for five years.