Warren City Council to seek permanent tax

One council member said he thought a permanent tax is a bad idea.



WARREN — City residents can expect to see a permanent police and fire tax levy on the November ballot as opposed to the temporary tax they have voted on in previous election years.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, council members voted 7-3 in favor of putting on a permanent 0.5 income tax, which generates about $4.5 million for safety forces each year.

The tax was introduced as an emergency clause and needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Members voted twice on the permanent tax because of confusion over how many votes were actually needed.

The first time members voted on the measure it resulted in a 6-to-4 vote. But since it was introduced as an emergency measure, it required seven yes votes.

Change in vote

After a five-minute recess, council resumed and voted again with Councilman Gary Fonce, D-at large, changing his vote in favor of putting the tax on permanently, even though he said it was a gamble to put it on the ballot.

Councilwoman Susan Hartman, D-7th, chairwoman of council’s police and fire committee, said the tax has been temporary long enough and it is time to make it permanent.

Councilman Alfred Novak, D-2nd, said he did not support the permanent tax.

He said residents need to make decisions in this process, the city is headed into some rough times, and it is not the time to give residents a permanent tax.

The tax would not mean extra money from the residents. It would be a continuation of the tax that voters have passed every three years.

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