Warren holds line on taxes

The City of Warren has a no-tax increase budget in place for 2018.

Warren City Council approved the $10,084,113 spending plan this week.

City Manager Nancy Freenock outlined a few changes to the budget since a public hearing — increases in wages and payroll tax stemming from settling a collective bargaining agreement with the police union, an increase in worker’s compensation insurance and a $.50 per month increase per customer for the cost of recycling stemming from increased costs fore cycling.

“The adjustments are really minor,” Freenock said, noting that there is now “enough (revenue) to support the recycling programs and all of its components.”

Earned income tax was also held at 2.2 percent in spite of an attempt by outgoing Councilman John Lewis to lower the percentage to 2.1.

Lewis said the proposal was “based on EIT surplus year after year after year.”

“This budget digs into the general fund balance by $1,784,000,” Mayor Maurice Cashman said. “That will just make that even more.”

Finance Director Donna Risinger said the proposed .1 reduction would equate to $160,000.

“We’re already budgeting a deficit,” Freenock said.

“I think it’s time we gave something back to the community,” Lewis said.

Freenock suggested that to the extent there is a surplus that it should be put into the paving program for 2018. “We know it can be used on the roads,” she said.

Lewis said the “biggest complaint” he receives is that people would “love to live in the city and the taxes are too high.”

He added that dropping taxes could draw more people to living in the city.

“Some of the people I’ve worked with, (I’ve) heard that same comment,” Councilman Richard Kolcharno said.

That proposal failed, 3-3, with Lewis, Jim Zavinski and Kolcharno voting yes, and Cashman, Phil Gilbert and Elissa Davis voting in opposition.

The budget was then passed, 5-1, with Lewis the sole vote against.