Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Lebanon talks of job cuts, income tax changes

Finance committee hints of belt-tightening to come

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A new City Council dropped the first hints of a new agenda Tuesday night — which could mean the ax for some high-ranking officials and higher taxes for residents.

        The first meeting of council's finance committee was intended to begin rewriting the city's 2002 budget. Councilman James Reinhard, the new chairman, said he'd like to see some administrative jobs eliminated to cut “fat” out of the budget.

        “I feel we have too many chiefs and not enough Indians,” Mr. Reinhard said. “... That's where I have my problems.”

        Acting City Manager Pat Clements said he and new City Auditor Sharee Dick already are tightening the budget.

        “We have ways to fix that without bogging you down,” Mr. Clements said.

        Then, Mr. Clements laid out some of the issues he'd like to see council focus on for the next two years:

        • Making the water and electric utilities pay for themselves, which would likely mean higher rates. The general fund is presently subsidizing residents' electric rates.

        “The thing we have to educate the public on is that services have a cost,” Mr. Clements said.

        • Reducing or removing the income-tax discount for residents who work outside of Lebanon. For instance, since Councilman Ben Cole works in Franklin, which collects income tax from him, he doesn't have to pay Lebanon's 1-percent income tax.

        “We have a lot of revenue going south and north and very little of it staying here,” Mr. Clements said.

        • Ensuring an adequate water supply and sewer service. A master plan for these utilities is nearly complete.

        Council will get more information on its water options tonight at a 7 p.m. work session in the electric building.

        Other issues will be taken up after the holidays, officials said.


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