By MAYSOON ABDELRASUL
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN — Some city officials say Warren needs a permanent police and fire tax.
The city has a temporary 0.5-percent income tax, which generates about $4.5 million for the safety forces each year. Temporary means the voters decide every three years if they want to keep it in effect.
A permanent tax could be placed on the November ballot if council members agree it is best for the city.
Councilwoman Susan Hartman, D-7th, chair of council’s police and fire committee, said she is in favor of the permanent tax. “I don’t think a temporary tax is good for the city of Warren,” she said.
The tax issue was discussed Tuesday during council’s police and fire committee meeting.
The time for council members to decide if it should be placed on the ballot is limited.
Atty. Jim Ries, deputy law director, said the tax language must be sent to the Trumbull County Board of Elections by Aug. 22 to be placed on the November ballot.
Mayor Michael J. O’Brien said he, too, is in favor of the permanent tax. Capt. Tim Bowers, representing the police department, also spoke in favor of the idea.
O’Brien said criminals are more organized and better armed than before, and the permanent tax is necessary to stop criminals.
The tax would not mean extra money from the residents. It would be a renewal of the temporary tax that has continually passed every three years.
“Crime is permanent and doesn’t run on a three-year cycle,” the mayor said.
Opponents to the permanent tax said voters will lose their say in what goes on in the city if the tax is permanent.
Councilman Alfred Novak, D-2nd, said he will not support the permanent tax. He said the only input for some residents on how the city is being operated is through voting, and placing a permanent tax on the ballot would remove their say.
Hartman said she will hold as many meetings as possible to make sure the council members understand what the tax means and then relay the information to residents.
She said the council members need to have ward meetings and listen to what their residents want.