The Akron City Council voted 11-2 Monday to endorse Issue 17, a city income tax increase on the May 8 ballot.
Councilmen Bruce Kilby, D-2, and John Conti, D-at large, voted against the resolution.
Mayor Don Plusquellic has proposed spending $2.5 million of the $18 million the issue would raise to hire 25 additional police officers.
``I think that could be found without having to raise income taxes,'' said Kilby, who voted earlier this year against putting the issue on the ballot.
Plusquellic has visited most ward meetings in person seeking votes for Issue 17 and emphasizing the need for additional money to keep and attract jobs in Akron. He has proposed that $9 million of the money raised by the tax increase be spent on economic development.
Plusquellic is running for election this year and it's also an election year for all 10 ward council members, including Council President Marco Sommerville, who represents Ward 3. The three at-large council members ran two years ago, winning four-year terms.
Sommerville said the city needs the extra money to make sure nobody poaches Akron's jobs, although he acknowledged that it's difficult to ask for it during an election year.
``It's tough, but the majority of the council members are putting the city first,'' Sommerville said.
Included in the council members' legislative packets were endorsements from the Greater Akron Chamber; the Akron-Summit County Public Library trustees, the Akron Board of Education, the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority trustees and the Akron/Summit County Convention & Visitors Bureau board of directors.
The Akron Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7 executive board has endorsed Issue 17. Unions representing the city's blue-collar workers and nurses also have endorsed it, according to the resolution.
Issue 17 would raise the city tax rate 0.33 percentage point, from 2.25 percent to 2.58 percent of taxable income.
A 0.33-percentage-point hike in the tax rate represents a nearly 15 percent increase in the income tax. Everyone working in Akron would pay $33 more a year for every $10,000 in taxable income. Akron businesses also would pay.
In addition to economic development and adding police, the money raised by a tax increase would be spent to improve neighborhoods; provide after-school programs at new schools doubling as community centers; control flooding; and purchase heavy equipment.
I. Trustees Endorse Issue 17: The AEA Board of Trustees last night unanimously endorsed Issue 17, the additional .33% city income tax. Mayor Don Plusquellic and Deputy Mayor John Valle addressed the Board. An article about the tax appears on the back of this newsletter.
II. Negotiations Dates Set: Negotiators for the Board and the Association will meet all day twice a week between now and late May. Two sessions have been held to date, one of which was an organizational meeting. It is the goal of both parties to make every effort to reach a tentative agreement by the close of school.
III. Me-Too Clause: We have not received a reply from the administration regarding their intent with respect to the “Me-Too” clause in our contract. We have expressed our belief that the language places an obligation on the Board to adjust teacher salaries by 1% as the result of a raise granted to another bargaining unit in the district for the 2006-2007 school year. More as this develops.
IV. Initiative Petition: We will be asking members to return petitions before the close of school. We have distributed to most buildings, but are waiting on a re-order to finish our distribution. Please encourage members to get SOME signatures on their petition, even if it is only a few immediate family members, relatives, etc.
V. Dues Increase: A committee is in the process of reviewing the Association budget at this time. Prior to the end of the school year, a recommendation will be made to the Board of Trustees with respect to the amount of a proposed dues increase.
VI. BR Election Results: BR’s are reminded to send in the election results for those buildings that were required to hold a BR election this year.
VII. Trustee Openings: Vacancies still exist on the Board of Trustees for representatives from East Secondary, Ellet Secondary and Firestone Secondary. Members interested in one of these positions can call Mikelann at AEA (434-2181) for more information.
VIII. Officer Elections: All officer positions are up for election this May. The Nominating Cte. reports receiving no petitions. However, all current officers have agreed to run for re-election.