People who live in Bucyrus but work in other communities could see their income tax bill increase if the Bucyrus City Council approves the mayor’s latest proposal to increase city revenue.
In his State of the City address at Tuesday night’s regular council meeting, Mayor Jeff Reser suggested reducing or eliminating the city’s income tax credit for residents who work in other communities.
“We have citizens who live here, work elsewhere and return home, and they take advantage of all the services we provide – parks, security forces, streets – and pay nothing,” Reser said. “I would actually ask the board to seriously consider reducing the amount of this credit so that we can raise money and be able to fund our fleets and vehicles as we need them without going back to taxing. all voters. I think before we do that, we have to look seriously at this issue.”
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The city’s income tax rate is now 2%, which is slightly lower than neighboring cities of comparable size and income levels collect, he said. His research indicates that many municipalities with similar household income levels fall between 2.25% and 2.5%.
“I would like to make sure we keep it at 2 for as long as possible without going back to voters,” he said.
Currently, Bucyrus provides a 100% credit to residents who pay up to 2% income tax in another community where they work.
“Doing research, we’re the most generous city in a 40-50 mile area,” Reser said. “Except Tiffin is the only other giving full credit. Marion gives 50%, Mansfield gives 50%, Kenton gives zero, Upper Sandusky gives zero, Fostoria gives zero credit.”
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How much would income increase?
During last year’s State of the City address, Reser asked the council to consider putting a 0.125 percent income tax to support city parks on the ballot.
This year, he said he decided not to drop that proposal in favor of reducing the income tax credit. In a written version of his remarks, Reser projected that the credit cut would yield an additional $200,000 to $300,000 a year.
Following his address, the board voted to refer the matter to the finance committee for discussion. They also referred a suggestion that the council consider possible ways to develop housing in the city to the plateau and service committees.
Reser also spoke about the need to renew the city center. The city has an “excellent” downtown area, he said, “but we cannot rest on our laurels”.
“I would like to form a committee of business owners and citizens to study the Ohio Department of Natural Resources plan they developed just before the pandemic. Bring green spaces to our downtown business district , which is currently lacking,” Reser said. “Going forward, we will have to deal with the islands in Washington Square which are becoming a bit overgrown and will need to be replaced. I will form another committee for this to give recommendations for this project as well.”
Reser spoke for about half an hour, reflecting on 2021 highlights, including the year-long bicentennial celebration, waterline expansion plans and the new role of the Bucyrus Fire Department. as an ambulance service provider.