Rather than have a 6-6 tie with Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to break the vote (and he would have supported the tax increase as a way to help balance the budget), Councilman Frank Szollosi walked out. In doing so, he drew the ire of Council President Joe McNamara, who supports the tax. According to WTOL,
McNamara would not be moved, saying, "Members of council are elected to come to meetings and vote. And that's the basic bare requirement of our job and so it's disappointing that anyone would duck a vote."
I don't believe Szollosi was ducking a vote, but taking advantage of the only option left to him to prevent a tax increase.
According to 13ABC:
"If I can stop a tax increase from making life more difficult for thousands of Toledo families by stepping out, I'm going to do it," says Szollosi.
But if you'll remember, the last time this was voted upon, it was defeated 5-6 and Szollosi was going to vote no. The numbers don't add up. So what happened?
According to The Blade,
On Sept. 1, council voted down the trash fee increase, with five in favor and six against. Voting in favor of the trash fee increase and rewards program were Mr. McNamara, Wilma Brown, Phillip Copeland, George Sarantou, and Steven Steel.
Voting against were Mr. (D. Michael) Collins, Tom Waniewski, Lindsay Webb, Michael Ashford, Mike Craig, and Betty Shultz.
So if everyone had voted the same way, and Szollosi voted no, it would have be 5 in favor and 7 against.
The paper reports:
Mrs. Brown said last night she intended to change her vote to yes, which would have made the split six in favor of the increase and six opposed.
Mrs. Shultz said she did not think through the increase when it came up for a vote four weeks ago and also that she did not want to leave a legacy that included a "bankrupt city."
I believe the paper has mis-identified the person who was going to change their vote - reporting it was Wilman Brown when they meant Betty Shultz. (This was corrected after my blog post.)
And I find it inconceivable that Betty was going to change her vote, especially because the city would still be bankrupt in 2009, even if this tax increase had been approved.
As Frank explained: "There are so many people hurting in this city, the last thing they need is for the city and the mayor to reach into their pockets more when we have failed to live within our means."
The best part of the actions last night was reported by 13ABC:
13abc's Christine Long: "Any idea when it will come back?"
McNamara: "No. I think it's probably done this year, unless council members change their minds, I think the trash fee change is dead."
So thank you to the council members who remained steadfast in their opposition to tax increases: D Michael Collins, Tom Waniewski, Lindsay Webb, Michael Ashford, and Mike Craig.
And thank you to Frank Szollosi who used every means possible to prevent this unprecedented tax increase.