Income tax moves closer

BUCKLAND — Buckland Village Council members heard the second reading Thursday of an ordinance to institute a 1 percent income tax on village residents.

Councilors began looking into the possibility of instituting the 1 percent income tax in November after voters defeated a 2.6-mill property tax levy on the November general election ballot. The levy was expected to generate approximately $20,000 annually.

The income tax ordinance will provide zero tax credit for people working in Buckland and living out of town.

Residents also may potentially see another tax added as they will be voting on a 5-year, 4-mill fire levy on the May primary ballot. Councilors approved putting the fire levy on the ballot in a special meeting last month. Councilors decided to put the fire levy on the ballot after its 2.6-mill levy for fire and rescue was defeated narrowly in November.

Buckland Mayor Dan Lambert said the slight increase from 2.6 to 4 mills is being asked for to have money set aside for potential purchases needed to be made by the volunteer fire department as equipment wears out.

“The fire levy will generate about $9,000 a year,” said Lambert. “About $5,400 of that will go to the fire department and $1,500 will go to Cridersville to provide rescue service. That will leave us about $2,000 left to put aside for purchases the fire department might need.”

Lambert said he is optimistic that voters will see the need, but the issue will not simply go away if defeated.

“We thought about putting 3 mills on the ballot, but we were worried that we would be cutting in close and it might result in dipping into the general fund,” Lambert said. “If it doesn’t pass, we will probably come back at a lower amount and try it again.”

Councilors also had an brief executive session to discuss a contract with the Buckland Fire Department. The current contract expires in April. No action was taken following the executive session, but councilors set a meeting to have negotiations with the fire department for later on this month.