LORAIN — Despite predictions of emergency services layoffs from city administrators Monday, residents seemed unconvinced that renewing a temporary 0.25 percent income tax for the next five years is the answer to the city’s fiscal woes.
“It’s caught up with us, and we’re not getting out of this one alive,” said 53-year-old resident Mike Beatty. “We haven’t (been) shown one bit of fiscal responsibility here at all.”
The city wants to put the five-year renewal on May’s ballot. Mayor Tony Krasienko told the finance committee that without it, at least 15 police officers and 15 firefighters would be laid off, in addition to drastic cuts in other departments.
Resident Brian Hazelett asked how Council has spent its money during the five years the tax has been in place. He was not alone when he questioned the city’s fiscal behavior.
“I recommend Lorain be a pioneer and run the city like a business,” resident Paula Tobias said.
“We need trust in this town,” John Wargo, 72, said. “I honestly believe we need this tax ... but prove to the people why we need it.”
Council and the administration agreed that everyone needed to put past mistakes aside and work together to get the renewal passed or the city would face drastic cuts.
“We need this status quo revenue just to keep what we have,” said Councilman Craig Snodgras, D-8th Ward.
Council will consider the legislation at its next regular meeting, 6 p.m. Monday.
In other business, Council and residents were somewhat divided on the need for an economic development fund to attract new business and retain current employers. They were also divided on how to fund it, where to concentrate efforts and what businesses would qualify for incentives.
“We may have to give a little to get our city back,” said Fanecia Jackson, 28. “We have to join together and start fresh.”
Resident and city employee Mary Ivan-Garza disagreed. “There are more important things to do right now,” she said.
Council scheduled a work session for 4 p.m. Friday in council chambers to discuss the issue further. The session will be open to the public.
Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.