Issue 7: March 2024 Income Tax Proposal
Collectively, three pieces of legislation - Ord. 91-2023, Ord. 98-2023, and Res. 99-2023 - capped the income tax credit for taxes paid to other municipalities (reciprocity) at the current tax rate of 1.5% and placed a 0.5% income tax increase on the ballot in March 2024. In effect, this means that all residents, regardless of employment location, would pay the 0.5% increase if the ballot issue is passed by voters in March 2024.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is additional funding being sought for?
Additional funding is being primarily sought to address the needs of the City’s emergency services, Police and Fire/EMS. Since 2012, the City has been trying to replace the current facilities used by these departments, as they are outdated and can no longer support proper functions.
For the North Canton Fire Department (NCFD), no existing structure in the City can appropriately house Fire/EMS operations. However, the two existing stations can be consolidated into one new facility. Geographic response time analysis indicates that the ideal location for a new facility would be as close to the City’s Town Square as possible. Consolidating into one facility enables the transition to a Full-Time Professional Department, reducing overtime costs and enabling a smaller fleet. Presently, the NCFD maintains a fleet of four ambulances, six fire apparatus, and several support vehicles. This large quantity of capital assets is partially due to the separation of facilities. Since both stations are not open 24/7, both must have ambulances and fire apparatus located on site. In addition, since Station 2 was not built with the intent of housing fire apparatus, the City has had to pay extra for a custom-designed fire engine that would fit in the garage bays of Station 2.
If the NCFD is able to consolidate all operations into a single purpose-built facility, its fleet could be right-sized. All vehicles could be of standard design rather than custom builds. This will save the City not only in acquisition costs - as each apparatus vehicle costs more than $1 million - but also in maintenance and repair costs to keep vehicles functioning.
At the time the current police facility was constructed, the North Canton Police Department (NCPD) had only 19 full-time personnel; all officers were male; did not have a school resource officer program; needed only one dispatcher on duty at a time; and was supported by a semi-volunteer auxiliary. Today, the NCPD employs 37 full-time personnel, including several female officers and dispatchers; four school resource officers; staffs as many as three dispatchers on duty at a time; and is no longer supported by auxiliary due to changes in the law. Simply put, the Police Department has outgrown the roughly 3,000 square feet of space currently available to it.
For Police and Dispatch, the City evaluated the potential of several existing City-owned properties to potentially relocate those operations, as well as the construction of a new building. However, any attempted move to a new building would incur significant construction costs as well as external infrastructure costs, including moving the dedicated 911 fiber line that runs under South Main Street. As the NCPD's greatest need is office/administrative space, the most cost-effective solution for the Police and Dispatch operations' needs is to utilize the current space in City Hall, which requires relocating the City’s administrative offices elsewhere. The NCPD could then expand into the office space on the building’s second floor. Relocating the administrative offices will address the needs of the Police and Dispatch operations at a lower cost to the taxpayers than new construction.
In addition, the revenue raised through the tax increase would be used to address the City’s $1.5 million deficit; pave residential roadways; address facility concerns, including potential investments necessary to repair or replace Dogwood Pool; and support parks development.
Can the City give up some projects instead of increasing the income tax rate?
The City is already delaying a number of potential projects in order to keep the current budget balanced. These projects that cannot yet be funded include:
- Water System:
- Monticello Booster Pump Station
- Willoway Waterline Replacement
- Clarifier Roof at Water Treatment Plant
- Replace the 2007 Pierce Ladder truck
- Replace (2) Fire Prevention Vehicles
- Salt Dump Truck
- Service Garage Sanitary Drain
- Residential Paving
- Price Park Playground Equipment
- Civic Center
- Parking Lot
- Event Hall Flooring
- Dog Park
- Glenwood Pickleball Courts
- Asphalt Ballfield Parking Lot
- Dogwood Shelter Inside Renovation
- Dogwood Pool Renovations
Who would be affected by the proposed income tax rate increase?
All working-age North Canton City residents would be required to pay an additional 0.5% income tax if the proposal is approved by voters, regardless of whether they work in another municipality or not. Moreover, all individuals who work in the City, and all businesses in the City, big and small, will also be required to pay an additional 0.5% income tax.
At present, there are an estimated 39,806 individual residents/income taxpayers in the City:
- 4,489 (11%) are resident children or retirees who do not pay income tax under State Law.
- 7,150 (18%) are residents who pay North Canton income taxes and work in North Canton or another township, making them ineligible to claim reciprocity credit.
- 6,203 (16%) are residents who work in another municipality and pay no North Canton income tax by claiming reciprocity credit.
- 21,964 (55%) are workers who pay North Canton income taxes, but do not live in North Canton – and therefore cannot claim reciprocity credit, and cannot vote on the income tax rate proposal.
How much funding would be raised by the proposed income tax rate increase?
If passed, the proposal would raise an additional $3.7 million per year beginning in 2026.
- $1.5 million will fill the City’s current deficit.
- A conservative estimate of $1 million per year would go towards the construction of a new Fire/EMS Station.
- The remaining $1.1 million would be used to address the needs of the Police Department; pave residential roadways; explore renovations for the Dogwood Pool Facility; and be invested into parks development.