Lewis could not be reached Thursday.
Jeff Forbes, law director for Waynesville and Mason, said a referendum could be called for, although Ohio law permits municipal officials to raise income tax to 1 percent without putting it to a popular vote.
“They can do it. Council passed an ordinance. It’s subject to referendum,” Forbes said.
The petition drive needs to collect at least 123 valid signatures, 10% of the local vote on the last gubernatorial election, according to a calculation by Brian Sleeth, the county election board director.
The village has struggIed financially and seen successful referendums.
In 2010, a referendum aimed at repealing a five-year, 1-percent income tax on people who work in the village, enacted by council passed 425-312. with about 57.7 percent of voters voting for it.
In November 2014, just under 53 percent of village voters rejected continuing a 1-percent income tax. The vote was 456-405.
Earlier in the same year, the village had emerged from fiscal emergency, putting spending under state scrutiny.
The five-year, 1 percent income tax — on people working in Waynesville, not those living there and working outside the village, except in cases of residents who work in areas without a local income tax — raised about $400,000 a year for operation of the local government.
The village income-tax rate had been 0.5 percent since Jan. 1, 2016.
Before the Nov. 16 vote, council said the added revenue was needed to pay for an additional police officer, do more infrastructure projects and boost cash reserves. Residents also pay police and road property-tax levies.
To get the issue on an earlier special election ballot would cost $1,600 for each of the village’s two precincts. Otherwise the petitioners have until Aug. 4 to get the referendum on the Nov. 2, 2021, election, according to election officials.