Maria Kacik, Lisa Hlavinka and Allison Wood | The Gazette
With Medina Countyâ€™s unemployment numbers rising to 9 percent in February, officials in the countyâ€™s three cities are bracing for less revenue from income taxes, but how deep the losses might be hasnâ€™t been determined.
Today is the deadline to file municipal, state and federal tax forms. Residents in the Cloverleaf Local School District also must file today. Along with property taxes, the district receives revenue from a half-percent income tax.
With tax papers in hand, Brunswick resident Toni Stein waits her turn to get help preparing her municipal taxes Tuesday at Brunswick City Hall. The countyâ€™s three cities are bracing for less revenue from income taxes as unemployment continues to increase. (Shirley Ware | Staff Photographer)
Cloverleaf Treasurer Mary Workman said Tuesday it appears revenues have declined slightly, but she is still waiting for money from rollbacks, delinquent bills and Homestead exemptions to come in before she and the school board decide how revenues will shape the districtâ€™s budget.
The city planned ahead for the economic storm.
â€œWhen we see unemployment numbers are creeping up, we know that at some point it will impact how much revenue,â€ city Finance Director Bill White said. But White said that figuring exactly when that drop might be seen is the hard part.
â€œIf we have residents that are laid off in Cleveland last year, if they havenâ€™t filed their taxes 2008 taxes, we still havenâ€™t seen that impact,â€ he said.
About 75 percent of the cityâ€™s residents work elsewhere.
White said income tax coming from businesses within the city may be a bit easier to count on. Revenues from them come in quarterly. This quarter â€” which ended March 31 â€” wonâ€™t be much different from prior ones, he said.
â€œOur tax base is very diverse, spread out over many, many business rather than just being reliant on a handful of businesses,â€ he said. â€œIf some businesses are struggling, others are doing OK, so it will average out.â€
White said his department figured history may repeat itself. Staff went back more than 20 years in the cityâ€™s books to see what happened during times of similar economic turmoil in the 1980s.
Back then, White said, income tax revenues stayed just about the same from year to year, rather than the slight increase the city normally sees.
Thus, this year the city budgeted based on receiving the same amount of income tax revenue as it did last year, he said.
While the city showed little change in tax revenue for 2008, Finance Director Keith Dirham said officials are anticipating a slight decrease for the rest of this year.
â€œWe are a little bit behind in 2009, but itâ€™s hard to say until people finish filing their taxes,â€ he said Tuesday.
This decrease is something that was anticipated due to the economy.
â€œWe were not deluding ourselves into believing revenue was going up,â€ he said.
Wadsworth also is looking at a drop in tax revenue compared to last year.
â€œWeâ€™re looking at first-quarter results of 2009 for tax revenue and see a 6 percent reduction versus 2008 revenues,â€ Service Director Chris Easton said.
As a result, City Council is considering several cuts in the 2009 budget.
â€œWeâ€™re looking at a budget reduction ordinance in council in April and May for the 2009 budget,â€ he said.
The city also is anticipating a 20 percent reduction in seasonal summer jobs.
â€œWe are also reducing the number of summer students that typically come in to do various labor-type jobs, including maintenance, and assist in various departments,â€ Easton said.