Niles safety force members seek support for income tax increase - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Niles safety force members seek support for income tax increase

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NILES, Ohio -

In Niles, Mayor Tom Scarnecchia is moving forward with his revised financial plan.

Although the state isn't scheduled to sit down with the mayor until March 17th, where they will likely review the plan line by line, the mayor says he's not wasting any time.

Tuesday night, Niles City Council gave a third and final vote of 5-2 in support of the plan. 

The mayor says the plan isn't banking on the passage of a proposed half-percent income tax increase.

"We are in dire need now. If it doesn't pass, I don't know where we will be but, it wont be pretty. I know that much," said Scarnecchia.

Also Tuesday night, volunteers, police and fire fighters organized a phone bank to reach out to voters. The volunteers answered questions and assured tax payers that the money will be specifically earmarked for safety services.

Safety forces are sending a message that the city needs the levy in addition to their financial plan.

"I'd say simply put we need both. We need to pass a financial plan to get this city back on the right track, and we also need the additional money," said Niles Police Officer Shawn Crank.

Volunteers fired off hundreds of calls on Tuesday. The majority of people told volunteers they planned to vote "yes."

"I am hopeful that it is going to pass this time. It came up a little bit short in the fall but we've done a much better job of getting the message out to the voters," said Firefighter Bill Santell.

"We have the State Auditor breathing down our neck here in the City of Niles and I'm sure they're going to make sure that it gets spent on the police and fire department," said Crank.

Without the levy, a fire substation could close resulting in longer response times.

Police and fire could also face additional layoffs.

PREVIOUS STORY: Town hall meeting scheduled for Niles safety forces levy

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