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Mayfield Heights Considering Income Tax Hike

Mayfield Heights residents will consider a proposal that would increase income taxes from 1 percent to 1.5 percent on Tuesday’s ballot.

Mayfield Heights City Council has already earmarked the $4 to $5 million a year it is expected to bring for road and sidewalk repair and improvements at the city pool, said Mayor Anthony DiCicco.

“Fiscally, we’re sound right now,” DiCicco said. “But we can’t afford to put $2 or $3 million a year into roads and $2 or $3 million into a park or a pool, if Issue 9 doesn’t pass.”

The proposal says the revenue would cover “general municipal operations,” which DiCicco said would allow for flexibility if anything else comes up moving forward.

Opponents argue that the language does not put enough restrictions on the way the additional tax revenue would be spent.

“In no way are the funds from the tax increase earmarked or guaranteed for any particular project in Mayfield Heights,” said Lee Weingart, spokesperson for the committee Stop Unfair Tax Increases Now. “Again, general municipal operations. That means the Mayor and city council can spend the money any way they please.”

Even though the proposal itself doesn’t list specific projects, Mayfield Heights City Council has taken steps to ensure the money goes to its intended targets, DiCicco said, including changing city ordinances as needed.

From the increased revenue, $200,000 would go toward sidewalks annually. Of the remaining funds, 60 percent would go toward road repair and the rest toward parks and pool work.

“I think it’s key for the future of Mayfield Heights, and if it doesn’t pass, we’ll have to make some hard decisions,” DiCicco said.

That could include allowing roads and sidewalks to deteriorate and potentially closing the pool.

If the tax hike is approved, Mayfield Heights residents earning $50,000 dollars a year would pay an additional $20.82 a month. But that would only apply to residents who work and live in the city. Mayfield Heights residents who work outside of the city receive a tax credit.

“If they work outside Mayfield Heights, we’re giving them right now a 50 percent credit toward what they pay that city, their work city,” DiCicco said. “Council increased that to 100 percent with the passage of Issue 9.”

More than 70 percent of residents will see either a decrease in income taxes or no change if the proposal passes, DiCicco said.

But that places an unfair burden on the residents who do work in the city, Weingart said.

“It divides Mayfield Heights in half. It exempts from the tax people who are wealthier and work outside the city, and it puts the burden of the tax on the people who live and work and support Mayfield Heights,” Weingart said. “That’s just not fair.”

Members of Stop Unfair Tax Increases Now have met with city officials to discuss desired changes to the proposal, Weingart said, including applying a lower tax increase across a broader number of residents and including more specific language as to what the money would do. The city refused to make any of the changes, he said.

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