City income tax voted down

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — With the unofficial results of Gallia’s election tallied Tuesday night, it would appear the 1 percent additional income tax was put down by Gallipolis residents with 725 no votes against 652 yes votes.

The income tax increase was also defeated during the March primary election, 598 to 303.

City officials have long voiced concerns over a shrinking budget and cuts in services as revenue streams have been weakened due state funding cuts over the last several years.

Officials had said if the levy passed to further fund the police department, there would be a fund separate from the general fund where all of that money would be placed. If the city collected $1.55 million from a 1 percent income tax, that would have meant the city would collect $3.1 million in a 2 percent income tax. Half of that, being roughly $1.55 million, might have been available for police to use.

Business owners in the city, asked what reasons should a voter consider before voting yes or no on the income tax increase. Many owners and workers in the city have said they did not wish to pay a higher tax rate. Gallipolis Police Chief Boyer said in previous weeks that if the police force was further diminished, crime may have a greater effect on businesses. City officials have said they may need to look at cutting jobs in the future as their next step in keeping the city’s budget out of the red.

As previously reported by the Tribune checked with city records and the city’s budget originally carried around $3.97 million. Money available numbered around $3.93 million in 2012 and $3.55 million in 2013. City officials say money available for the 2016 year would be around $2.95 million with around $1.55 million collected from working individuals in income tax. The city had collected around $1.59 million in income tax in 2011.

City officials have said all of the money collected from the police levy would’ve solely been used for police services and equipment. Part of that equipment, Boyer said, would ideally have been used to outfit three new police cruisers as three aging cruisers in GPD’s police fleet have roughly 150,000 miles on them and one is bad enough officers will not drive it outside of town.

Boyer had claimed housing inmates cost upwards of $170,000 to $200,000 per year in past years and that number may likely increase as officers have said they cannot control the number of individuals who must be arrested. Officers have also claimed that prisoner transport can eat up a great deal of time as the jail in Gallia is always nearly full so officers are taking a lot of time moving prisoners as far away as north of Columbus and just east of Cincinnati. Housing a prisoner in the Gallia Jail can cost around $70 a day.

Gallipolis Police Department is currently compromised of 10 officers, one of which is the chief and another a detective. City officials had desired to add another five officers to the force had the income tax passed.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright