CLEVELAND - Cleveland City Council Public Safety Committee Chair Kevin Conwell told NewsChannel5 Thursday that the Cleveland police union came to him with an idea to place a quarter-percent "income tax" hike on the November ballot.
The safety tax would raise between $35 million and $40 million a year and would be used to keep police officers and firefighters on the job, instead of being laid off.
Conwell said the idea for an income tax increase is just in the "initiation stage." Conwell said it's on the table for discussion and he said union leaders want to gauge community reaction before going through with putting the income tax on the ballot.
Conwell said he hasn't decided whether he supports the income tax idea but wants to look into it. On average, someone making $35,000 a year would pay an extra $88 a year.
The income tax for people working in Cleveland is currently 2 percent, but this would make it 2.25 percent, if voters approved it.
Conwell said it's important that Cleveland safety forces not have reduced numbers on the streets of Cleveland at any time, but especially now with so many new projects under way like the new casino, development in the east bank of the flats, the med mart and convention center. Conwell said it's important to keep downtown Cleveland and city neighborhoods safe.
Steve Loomis President of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association told News Channel 5's Paul Kiska "this is just one of many options we're looking at, this is very preliminary. But imagine if we could avoid any layoffs or reduction of service."
Tom Lally President of the Cleveland Fire Fighters Association said "any reductions in the fire department will be significant. We need to look at all potential remedies to the fiscal crisis."
The city of Cleveland is facing state-imposed budget cuts.
Keep checking newsnet5.com for more information.