CITY COUNCIL Failure to get tax on ballot raises flags
A councilman would like the city auditor to file levies with the board of elections.
GIRARD -- A councilman says he is hoping to find out why a 0.25-percent income tax for the police department didn't get placed on the May primary election ballot.
Tom Seidler, D-3rd, said he has called a special meeting of council's Employee Welfare Committee for 10 a.m. Saturday to discuss the matter. He chairs the committee.
According to city records, council voted Jan. 24 to place the tax on the ballot. The five-year additional tax would raise about $400,000 annually, said Mayor James Melfi.
However, the deadline to place issues on the ballot was last Thursday, Melfi said.
The mayor and city law director Mark Standohar said it is the clerk of council's responsibility to get the papers filed with the Trumbull County Board of Elections.
Pam Mayoras, clerk of council, works under the direction of council president Reynald Paolone.
Neither Mayoras nor Paolone could be reached to comment.
"My understanding is that the last two levies that were on the ballot were filed by the city auditor," Seidler said. "A levy that was put on a few years before that was also filed by someone else. The clerk has never filed a levy."
Seidler noted that the clerk's job is part-time and he plans to make a motion to have the auditor file all levies.
"I think it is too much responsibility for a part-time position," Seidler said.
Standohar said he has told council on other occasions that the clerk has failed to file the publication notices and other paper work but that no action has ever been taken.
"I've heard there have been some problems but I haven't been able to talk with the clerk about it yet," Seidler said.
The income tax would have been a great help for the city's police department, Melfi said. Part of the money would have been used to hire a juvenile officer, the mayor said.
Melfi said he didn't know whether the city will put the tax on during a special election in August or in November's general election.