Buckland Mayor Dan Lambert
BUCKLAND — Buckland Village Council members unanimously chose Thursday to investigate the possibility of passing a 1 percent income tax levy in the village to generate more funds for the operation of the village.
According to Ohio Revised Code, municipalities can levy up to 1 percent on residents income tax to generate funds without going before the voters at the polls. Councilors agreed to consider the issue after discussing a renewal on a five-year, 2.6-mill property tax levy that likely was defeated Tuesday.
The levy was defeated by a 58-53 vote with provisional votes yet to be counted.
Mayor Dan Lambert explained the need to do something for the village to continue functioning in the future, especially due to constant budget cutbacks that villages are facing from the state.
“We budgeted $96,000 this year, Lambert said. “We will have only $64,000 to budget next year. That is $32,000 less.”
Lambert and village councilors plan to do everything they can to avoid any cuts if at all possible.
“We have been living off of the Local Government Funds for years,” Lambert said. “But they have been reduced from $65,000 to $34,000 in just two years.”
“We have cut everything we can,” councilor Lonnie John said. “There is nothing left to cut.”
Possibilities of cuts thrown on the table included police department cuts, a reduction in money given to the Buckland Fire Department, village parks and maintaining village trucks.
Council agreed to spend up to $500 to hire a firm to investigate how much a one percent income levy would produce for the village. Lambert said he felt the total could approach the $20,000 range, but council wants to get an official number before further considering the move.
Much of that loss was due to a decrease to $34,000 from $44,000 the village received last year from the state’s Local Government Funds. The village will still collect on the failed levy through next year, as the tax was collected in arrearage. The levy generated approximately $5,000.
Councilor Cindy Sidey said she and fellow councilors should have educated the public better concerning the levy, saying many people were unaware that the levy was a renewal.
“Residents were recently hit with a bill from the sewer,” Sidey said. “I think a lot of people didn’t realize this was something they were already paying.”