July 25, 2016

Partly cloudy

Brunswick council votes to oppose state income tax proposal

BRUNSWICK — City Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution opposing a proposed state law that would alter the municipal income tax system.

Similar resolutions have been passed by communities across Ohio, Councilman Brian Ousley, at-large, said.

“I hope the folks downstate take notice,” he said.

Finance Director Todd Fischer said the law has been touted by supporters as a reform of the municipal income tax system.

But Fischer said it doesn’t achieve that goal.

“It’s a total rewrite of the current law, and it doesn’t make it any simpler,” he said.

Fischer estimates the law would cost Brunswick about $200,000 in local income tax dollars if approved. It also would require 16- and 17-year-olds to pay taxes, a major difference from the city’s law now.

“We’re just hoping the law isn’t passed,” he said.

In other action Monday, Council agreed to approve the continuation of a link between the Brunswick Transit Alternative and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority that provides a bus line from Laurel Square in Brunswick into downtown Cleveland six times a day during the week.

The agreement Council approved will continue the 451 route with a payment of $51,000 to the RTA.

Service Director Pat McNamara said the amount is covered with a money from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

At-large Councilman Ron Falconi said he didn’t think the amount was worth the service.

“I think it’s spending a lot of money to serve an average of two dozen people,” Falconi said.

In committee meetings, Ousley disagreed, arguing it was an important service that some residents used to commute to their jobs.

McNamara also said the NOACA funds can’t be used for anything but transportation.

McNamara said he was able to negotiate the contract to $51,000, down from the $60,000 RTA originally proposed.

He also said the line has been slowly growing in popularity.

“It’s a service we’re trying to grow, and it has been growing,” he said.

McNamara said there is a hope that the Brunswick Transit line soon can tie in with other Medina County lines in Medina and Wadsworth to link the county together.

Council next will meet 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 — a week earlier than usual — to avoid the Christmas holiday.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.