Windham - Windham Village residents sent a strong message to council last week saying they were not happy with a decision council made in December by enacting Ordinance (O-2012-50) to repeal the village’s .5% tax credit given to residents who live in the village and work in another municipality. Residents felt they were being punished for having a job outside of the village. So in response to council’s action, the residents collected signatures for a referendum petition which will send the issue back to the voters in November. Before that can happen, they have to collect 41 signatures, which is 10% of the registered voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election (2010) and have the referendum petition turned into the fiscal officer of the village within 30 days of the decision council made on December 18, 2012.
The signatures have been collected and turned in to the village’s fiscal officer, who has to retain them for ten days, for public viewing. After the ten days, the fiscal officer turns over the petition to the board of elections who will determine if there are enough valid signatures to place the measure on the fall ballot. If they have enough valid signatures to place the issue on the ballot, council will not be able to collect the .5% tax until after the election.
This action was taken by the residents because at the December Windham Village Council meeting, council voted to end the .5% tax credit effective immediately. The measure left residents angry with elected officials. Many of the residents also questioned the legality of the decision due to the fact that the repealing of the villages reciprocity tax was a decision originally made by the voters. During the December meeting, five resident spoke-up and urged council not to repeal the tax credit, but in the end council voted to repeal the measure. Council members Sheryl Prem, Scott Garrett, and Phil Snyder voted yes, while members Jena Miranda, Rachel Barrett, and Deb Blewitt voted no. Mayor Rob Donham broke the tie with a yes vote, which frustrated the residents enough to file the referendum petition.