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GIRARD Tax issue misses ballot, but officials don't know why

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The tax would have benefited the police department.
GIRARD -- Voters will not be deciding whether a 0.25-percent income tax for the police department should be approved, despite city council's decision to place the tax on the May primary election ballot.
According to city records, council voted Jan. 24 to place the tax on the ballot. The 5-year additional tax would raise about $400,000 annually, said Mayor James Melfi.
However, the deadline to place issues on the ballot was Thursday, Melfi said.
"I found out Friday that we weren't on the ballot," the mayor said. "I have no idea why. It's the clerk of council's responsibility to make sure the papers get filed with the Trumbull County Board of Elections."
Melfi added that Pam Mayoras, clerk of council, works under the direction of Council President Reynald Paolone.
Neither Mayoras nor Paolone could be reached to comment.
Councilman John Moliterno said he was out of town last weekend and is not sure what took place. He referred calls to Councilman Frank Miglozzi, who also could not be reached.
The income tax would have been a great help for the city's police department, Melfi said.
"The department is understaffed. A few years ago we had 28 full-time police department employees and now we have 19," he said. "We would have used part of that money to hire an officer who would have also worked at the schools."
He added that the city department has done an "outstanding job" despite being understaffed.
Melfi said he didn't know whether the city will put the tax on during a special election in August or in November's general election.
"There are pros and cons to the additional income tax," Melfi said. "As a former city treasurer we don't like to see an income tax increase because it's not good for keeping or bringing in business. But, this would have gotten us out of the fiscal emergency, and that is good."