Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
St. Henry voters drown income tax levy
By Shelley Grieshop
Mercer County Treasurer Dave Kaiser of St. Henry joins other officials as they s. . .
ST. HENRY - Village officials this morning axed the idea for a new swimming pool and will look elsewhere for needed operating funds after voters nixed a permanent 1/2 percent income tax increase.
"We're obviously disappointed," village administrator Ron Gelhaus said this morning. "We were trying to be proactive ... We'll continue to do the best we can."
Gelhaus said residents were told during the levy campaign that if it failed, the town would "not build a swimming pool anytime soon."
"We can't do it with the funds we have," he said.
The tax went down 778 votes (54.48 percent) to 650 votes (45.52 percent). Figures show 82.1 percent of the town's registered voters weighed in on the issue.
Gelhaus and St. Henry Mayor Jeff Mescher thanked those who supported the levy and the committee who worked hard to educate residents.
Mescher said the village's finance committee and council will "look to the future to make the improvements that are needed and find the means to fund these projects."
The proposed income tax would have raised the town's current rate to 1 1/2 percent. A resident with an annual income of $50,000 would have paid an additional $250 per year.
The new tax would have generated about $480,000 annually the first five years to replace the town's 40-year-old swimming pool with one costing $1.5 to $1.9 million. Beginning the sixth year, the levy would have collected $356,000 each year to fund operating expenses and special projects.
Ongoing reductions in local government funding and other revenues is expected to drain village funds by up to $115,000 annually, council members have said.
Officials also said that if the aging pool needs major renovations in the future and funds aren't available, it may close.