Springfield residents to ask city leaders about finances, tax increase

The city of Springfield will host financial forums one month before voters decide on an income tax increase at the polls on May 2.

The forums are open to the public and will include presentations on both the city’s financial status and the upcoming tax issue. It will also include time for residents to ask questions, Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said.

The forums will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. April 6, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 19 and 10 to 11 a.m. April 27, all at the City Hall Forum, 76 E. High St.

MORE: Springfield income tax increase goes back to the polls in May

“We want to provide citizens with an opportunity to ask questions about our financial situation,” Heck said. “Obviously we are facing fiscal challenges, specifically with our general fund and we want to provide an opportunity to educate the community.”

City officials from different departments will also attend, including City Manager Jim Bodenmiller, Heck said.

The city projects generating $38.4 million in general fund revenues this year. However, the city estimates spending about $39 million, leaving about a $600,000 deficit.

RELATED: Ohio Auditor: Springfield under fiscal stress

Springfield residents will vote again on an income tax increase this spring, months after a similar proposal was rejected at the polls.

The 5½-year income tax increase will be placed on the May 2 ballot. The income tax rate in Springfield would increase from 2 percent to 2.4 percent, if approved by voters. A similar proposal was rejected by 227 votes in November.

If approved, the tax would generate an additional $6.7 million annually through 2022. For a worker making $30,000 a year, the tax would cost an additional $10 per month.

MORE: Springfield union upset with move to ‘lower the standard’ for hiring

About $2 million would go toward a street improvement fund. It would also allow the city to reopen both Fire Station No. 5 and the police substation on Johnny Lytle Avenue, both of which closed on Jan. 1 due to budget cuts.

The rest would pay for six new police officers for a Safe Streets Task Force, a special police unit to combat violent crime and heroin abuse.

“We want to provide another opportunity for people to learn more about our financial situation and ask questions,” Heck said. “We encourage people to participate.”


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