Toledo city council approves ballot tax measures

The mayor called for a tax renewal, along with a 1/4% temporary levy for road repairs.
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 2:28 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz received approval from the City Council for two new ballot measures for the November election, though there was some initial confusion as to whether a vote by the newly suspended council member Larry Sykes would void the measure.

Sykes had agreed to suspend his position on the council, and the move was made official on Friday, though Sykes still appeared at the virtual council meeting and voted ‘no’ on the ballot initiatives.

Later Monday afternoon, council president Matt Cherry said he had confirmed with the city law department that Sykes vote would not be counted and the initiative was officially on the ballot.

Both of the measures sought to either continue funding for city programs and departments, or to extend additional funding to projects like road construction, and both are in response to the failure of the mayor’s Issue One ballot measure which sought an increase in the income tax for Toledo residents as a means of funding road repairs.

The first ballot measure is a simple renewal of the current 3/4 percent tax levy which funds regular city programs. During a press conference on in July, the mayor pointed out that, should the renewal fail, the city would face a $56.8 million budget shortfall. That number is precisely the amount the city uses to fund the Toledo Police Department’s patrol officers.

“In other words, filling the hole in the city budget caused by the defeat of the 3/4% renewal could be accomplished by laying off literally every single patrol officer on the police department,” warned the mayor in a press release sent to the media during the conference. “Clearly, this would be an unacceptable future for our city. Toledoans understand this, which is why they have voted to renew the 3/4% income tax consistently since 1982. I know they will do so again this November.”

Mayor Press Conference

HAPPENING NOW: Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz holds a press conference downtown regarding the November 2020 ballot.

Posted by 13abc on Monday, July 20, 2020

The second measure is a temporary, 4-year, 1/4% tax increase which would be solely allocated for road repairs in the city. According to the mayor, in the defeat of Issue One, he sought input from citizens who stated that what they were looking for was exactly this measure, a specific levy for use only on road repairs.

“I listened to the citizens of Toledo, but more importantly, I heard them,” said the mayor in the press release. “That is why the approach I am requesting does each of the three things voters demanded: the levy requests are two totally separate issues; the size of the tax increase has been cut in half (from 1/2% to 1/4%); and every penny of the additional revenue will be spent fixing our roads.”

“As much as I continue to believe that Toledo also needs more programming for youth, more police, universal pre-K and stronger parks,” he continues, “the revenue from this new levy will go to only one thing: road repair.”

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