Pounds: Yes on Issue 1Written by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
We have said before that if Toledo is going to turn around and trade its potential for reality, there are going to be sacrifices and hard decisions. A month from now, on March 6, voters will be faced with the first of those decisions — whether to renew the city’s ¾ percent payroll tax.
As Toledo Free Press Staff Writer Brigitta Burks reported Jan. 31, Mayor Mike Bell and members of Toledo City Council gathered Jan. 31 to outline reasons to support the tax.
The “extremely important” tax helps support city services like the police and fire departments, Bell said. If passed, the renewal is expected to provide more than $51 million to city coffers. To put that in perspective, Bell said that the fire department has a budget of $59 million.
“It’s very important that citizens and voters take a good look at this issue,” said Councilman George Sarantou.
“This levy has been with us since 1982,” Bell said. Rather than make the tax permanent, Bell added, the administration wanted to give voters the option to renew it every four years.
“We’re not taking anything for granted,” he said. “We are very much excited to be able to move forward.”
As Burks reported, when the levy first appeared it was designated for fire, police, capital improvements and refuse services. Although the city’s refuse collection was recently privatized, Council President Joe McNamara said $4.4 million still comes out of the city’s general fund to pay for it.
Passing the levy is “vitally important” to city services, McNamara said. He added that the issue is nonpartisan and has the support of both parties on Council.
“You also have to understand we’re still recovering from the Great Recession,” Sarantou said.
Bell urged voters to turn out for the election. “We cannot do it without public support,” he said.
For too long, Toledo’s potential has been trumped by its actions. There are signs of forward motion with the recent sales of Downtown property, the imminent opening of Hollywood Casino Toledo and the spate of small business openings that Toledo Free Press reports on almost every week. We urge voters to vote yes on Issue 1 to keep our fragile momentum going.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.