TRUMBULL Warren safety-service levy fails; rest of county has mixed results
The Warren mayor said the tax request will appear on the November ballot.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Education will be the key when city officials try again in November to get a half-percent income tax passed.
The tax, which is collected from city residents, is used to pay for training purposes and to buy equipment for the city's police and fire departments as well as to keep the safety forces at recommended staffing levels.
But Tuesday, voters turned down the tax by 161 votes.
"We need to do some educating of the public, to make them aware that this is not an additional tax, but a renewal of one they are already paying," said Warren Mayor Michael O'Brien.
O'Brien said language on the ballot was confusing because the issue read that it was an additional tax. The current collection of the tax ends Dec. 31, and the levy from Tuesday's ballot would have taken effect Jan. 1, 2005, O'Brien said.
Taxpayers would not have seen an increase in their income tax, he said. They would have continued paying the same 2 percent currently collected.
The tax generates between $4.7 million and $5 million each year for the safety forces.
O'Brien did not comment when asked if negative publicity surrounding the city's police department in recent months may have affected the outcome, but he did say education was needed in that area as well.
"We are going to be training our officers, and we need to let the people know that it will be a new police department with new officers," he said.
How other levies fared
Voters in Liberty, however, overwhelmingly approved a 4.8-mill levy request to cover salaries and benefits as well as purchase and maintain vehicles for their police department. The issue passed with 61 percent of the vote.
The levy, which replaces two police levies that have been in place since 1981, is expected to generate about $1 million a year for the department.
Other levy issues throughout Trumbull County were:
UBrookfield Township, where an additional 2-mill, five-year levy for the police department lost by just 48 votes.
UChampion Township, where 67 percent of the voters passed a 1.2-mill, five-year renewal levy for fire protection.
UHubbard Township, where a 1.75-mill, three-year renewal levy for the police department passed with 68 percent of the vote.
UWeathersfield Township, where 63 percent of the voters rejected an additional 1.5-mill, continuing additional levy for fire protection.
UChampion and Vienna townships, where a total of three local liquor options were all approved.