Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Monroe increase fails


Proposal to raise income tax to 1.5% loses with 52% opposed

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

MONROE - Voters narrowly defeated a 50 percent income tax increase on Tuesday that was to pay for capital improvements and reduce the city's debt.

According to final, unofficial returns Tuesday night, 573 (52 percent) were opposed to increasing the city's income tax from 1 percent to 1.5 percent, and 527 (48 percent) voted for it.

City officials cut capital improvement projects two years ago when it faced financial problems. In 2003, the budget and staff were reduced by 10 percent.

"The bottom line is we've cut back our operations to the core ... that doesn't leave any money for capital improvements," Finance Director Jay Stewart said before the vote.

Stewart said an income tax increase is more favorable than a property tax and therefore, if the increase request fails, voters will likely see the issue on another ballot. Monroe voters rejected a similar proposed increase in November 2003.

"I would think (council) would look to put it back on as soon as we could, possibly in November," Stewart said.

Monroe, straddling the Butler-Warren county line off Interstate 75, is one of Greater Cincinnati's fastest-growing communities, jumping from 7,135 residents to 8,821, in 2000-2003, according to U.S. Census figures.

City officials estimated that 35 percent to 40 percent of residents would pay a higher tax under Tuesday's proposal. Residents who work elsewhere get credit on the Monroe tax.

Monroe resident Harold Henderson headed to the polls Tuesday to support the tax increase. Henderson, whose office is in Monroe, will be affected.

"We need to increase the income of the community," he said.

The city's budget problems were worsened by problems with internal controls and accounting practices that led to the resignations in 2003 of the city manager and finance director and to reforms.

In Hamilton County, voters in Mount Healthy Tuesday were voting on a 5-year, 5-mill safety levy Tuesday. Results were not available.




SUMMER LEVY VOTES
8 school levies fail
County election sites
'No!' Norwood majority roars about 14-mill levy
Monroe increase fails
Mt. Healthy OKs levy

TOP STORIES
Festival seating likely to return
Mayor Luken may be angling for run at statewide office
Freedom Center taps emotions
Last exhibit intended to get people talking
Young workers lack coverage

IN THE TRISTATE
Spending up at Cincinnati schools
Ex-felons' voting rights misstated
Lakota puts levy on ballot this fall
Local news briefs
Mercury lurks: Think twice about eating fish caught in Ohio streams
Lead-laden parcel won't delay planned Warren County subdivision
Neighbors briefs
Wording leaves details to courts
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium euthanizes 39-year-old gorilla with inoperable cancer
Panel to debate opening park gate
Public safety briefs
Lawsuit: Bad grades killed jobs
Too fast, two crashes, two die
Residents praise new park's trail

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Grad awarded $1K scholarship

LIVES REMEMBERED
Rev. James A. Sutton, 82, was foster parent to 148
Janet M. Trigg taught nursing care for cancer

KENTUCKY STORIES
Bush bypasses Bunning on post
Woman, 72, claims sex abuse in 1930s
Silver Grove first up
Florence advised: Un-Mall
18 N.Ky. schools fall short
NRA gives endorsement to Geoff Davis
Bunning addresses business group
Louisville GOP leader faces criticism on poll watchers
Human Rights Commission has acting director
Bunning pressed on stem cells