Council proposes income tax increase

By: 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

St. Marys City Council approved a motion to publish its intent to increase the Earned Income Tax by .2 percent for the 2019 budget.
Currently the city’s EIT is .5 percent. An additional .5 percent is allocated to the St. Marys Area School District.
With the raise, this will increase to .7 percent and will generate an additional $600,000 in new revenue for the city. This is equal to an $80 tax increase for an individual making a salary of $40,000/yr.
Councilman Ned Jacob proposed the tax increase with revenue being earmarked for infrastructure projects, specifically for repairs to road, bridges and storm sewers.
An estimated 14 road projects and eight bridge projects are already on the city’s list of items needing completed. It was noted the storm sewers are separate from the sanitary sewer lines.
During a recent Council budget workshop, Jacob stated the current funding for such infrastructure projects was not sufficient to sustain the city’s 72 miles of roadway.
Mayor Lou Radkowski said since he began serving on Council, this is only the second time they have had to directly impact the residents of the city with an increase. The first time was for an increase to the fire protection fund.
“At large, revenue for the city has remained flat,” Radkowski said.
He believes this is a very smart investment in the city and is a way to plug the gap in finding alternative ways to pay for things.
“Hopefully this will allow us to put a small dent in these projects that have needed done for several years,” Radkowski said.
Councilman Greg Gebauer said this is “getting a huge bang for the buck” noting if council would have opted to raise property tax instead, it would have resulted in a three mil increase.
Solicitor Tom Wagner noted that future Councils may opt to re-allocate this funding for other uses other than what has been specified by the current Council.
The EIT is for residents and non-residents working in the city.
This tax is typically withheld from an employee’s payroll, however if this is not the case the tax is collected by Berkheimer Tax Service.
The city’s final budget is slated to be adopted in December.

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