Shaker Heights Voters Approve Income Tax Increase

Issue 1 passes with 64 percent of the vote.

Shaker Heights residents will soon be taxed a larger percentage of their income, but that's what they voted for — overwhelmingly.

Voters by a 64-to-36-percent vote Tuesday night, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. That means the city will receive $6 million from resident wage-earners to replace anticipated losses from state aid. The vote raises the income tax rate from 1.75 percent to 2.25 percent.

The final tally was 4,206 to 2,344, according to final results.

"We're sorry that this extra burden has had to be absorbed by our residents because of actions in Columbus, but I'm so proud of the residents in our community for stepping forward and taking this on," Mayor Earl Leiken said at a watch party held at his home on Colby Road.

"I think it's a great tribute to the kinds of people living in Shaker Heights and to the kind of community we have. It's a very unique, very special place. I'm very lucky, as are other residents, to live here."

Leiken's party, which included council members, city officials and campaign members, cheered loudly around 8:45 p.m. when the results were announced. Many of them admitted to feeling a sense of relief after a long, hotly contested campaign.
"I really think that the citizens of Shaker Heights made a choice," Councilman Earl Williams said. "I think that choice included an affirmation and confirmation that their representatives and leadership in Shaker Heights had their backs as electors.

"They believed us. I'm glad they believed us, and they stepped out on faith."

After the victory, Councilwoman Nancy Moore said she was more concerned with the message sent by approving voters than the one officials tried to get across in recent months. The city said it would if the issue was not approved.

"The message that the community sent to us was that this town does have a future, and we're going to be part of it," Moore said. "That was what the decision was about.

"That's the only message that matters to me."

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