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Income taxes, property levy deserve renewal in Oberlin: ENDORSEMENT


It's the rare tax issue that fails to pass in Oberlin, and we see no reason why the three issues that voters will have a chance to weigh in on in the upcoming election should buck that trend.

All three issues are renewals that won't raise taxes and go to fund important services for both the city and Oberlin Schools.

The city's levy, Issue 15, would renew a 0.2 percent income tax that brings in around $600,000 annually and accounts for about 28 percent of the city's Income Tax Capital Improvement Fund.

The money in that fund goes toward street improvements, park and cemetery maintenance and payments for city vehicles such as police cars and fire trucks. Oberlin city officials have said one the most important upcoming expenditures they plan to make from the fund is to replace a 20-year-old fire truck at a cost of about $700,000.

Oberlin has four other voter approved income taxes, which means residents of the city pay a total of 2.5 percent on their earnings to the city. The city is quick to point out that it offers a 100 percent tax credit to those paying income tax elsewhere and that the income tax isn't applied to Social Security or retirement pensions.

Oberlin Schools also is asking voters to approve a 0.75 percent income tax renewal. Superintendent David Hall told us that Issue 40 would bring in about $1.4 million per year, which would be used to pay for staff salaries, classroom supplies and other basic school necessities.

The district also is asking voters to renew a 1.3-mill property tax levy that brings in $241,233 per year to purchase computers for the classroom and other technology such as smart boards and security cameras.

The owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay $37.97 per year if Issue 41 is approved.

Hall said the income tax and the property tax levy account for around 10 percent of the district's roughly $15 million annual budget. Oberlin Schools serves nearly 1,000 students.

Both cities and schools across the state have had to deal with cuts to state funding coming out of Columbus in recent years, making them even more reliant on local taxes to pay for the services they provide.

Failing to pass any of the tax issues before Oberlin voters would hurt the city and its residents and the schools and students.

There is no reason to do so and voters should cast their ballots in favor of all three issues.

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