Warren trying to plug income tax deficit

Warren tax office

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – The loss of not one, but two, major employers in Warren last year is still being felt in the city.

The closure of the General Electric plant and the First Place Bank headquarters left hundreds of people without jobs. Now, city managers are trying to cope with the loss of income from all those taxpayers.

The income tax is used to fund services like streets, police and fire.

“There is no more money coming in from GE. First Place Bank has closed. And the residual effect of all this has caused other layoffs with other companies,” Warren Tax Administrator Tom Gaffney said.

That adds up to more than $700,000 that the city will not be getting this year. There are many ways the city can balance the budget, but none of them are very popular.

“There is the opportunity to ask for a rate increase on income tax, which is never a popular thing to do,” Warren Auditor David Griffing said.

Instead of increasing taxes, Warren could take a cue from the city of Niles, which, for a while, cut the tax rebate given to city residents who pay income tax in other cities. The auditor said the city gives about $1 million in those rebates every year.

Council has not supported that plan in the past.

“They were not very receptive the last time we brought it up, but I think at this point, we have to explore all the possibilities,” Griffing said.

At a minimum, the city will have to look carefully at next year’s budget too.

“We are going to have to budget a little more conservative next year. And try to attract new businesses into the city,” Gaffney said.

The city is already looking at consolidating some services with the county and finding ways to cut positions due to retirements.

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