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Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Council says no to state tax collections

St. Henry

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. HENRY - Village council members on Monday passed a resolution opposing an idea by Ohio legislators to allow the state to collect and distribute local income tax.
The resolution involving House Bill 153 strongly opposes "the state of Ohio or any other third party central collection entity from seeking to take control of municipal income tax collection."
Council members unanimously passed the resolution as an emergency, waiving the three-reading rule.
"They want to collect our income tax down in Columbus and distribute it. I think that would be a grave mistake," village administrator Ron Gelhaus said.
The state handles tax collections for schools and charges 2 percent for the service, he said. If the same fee was charged for municipal income tax collections, the state would pocket $14,000 of our money, Gelhaus explained.
"It's an expense we don't need," he added.
He stressed the idea is only in the discussion phase and has not been amended to the pending legislation, also known as the State Biennial Budget Bill.
Other communities across the state also have voiced objection to the idea, Gelhaus said. Besides paying fees, municipalities are concerned about the state accessing their tax records, and the timing and frequency of distributions and collection reports to municipalities.
Gelhaus noted other concerns such as the state's desire to take on the new responsibility in the wake of staff reductions.
"I don't think they need to have their nose in this," council member Bob "Rocket" Rengers said. "They've got their nose in enough stuff."
A copy of the town's resolution is being sent to Gov. John Kasich, state treasurer Kevin Boyce and local representatives of the legislature including Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina.
Also Monday, council members discussed a possible timeline for a new village pool - a project that has been on the back burner for several years. The pool fund has accumulated $282,000 with another $50,000 to be deposited soon, fiscal officer Ruth Miller said.
The cost of a new pool is expected to exceed $1 million - an amount the village likely won't be able to raise for several years, council members said. The timeframe may be extended due to the current unstable economy, they agreed.
In other business, council members:
• Held an executive session to discuss personnel but took no action.
• Learned an environmental meeting is slated for 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at council chambers to discuss water/sewage rates.
• Learned a finance committee meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday.
• Learned that due to a schedule conflict, the Nov. 14 meeting will be moved to 8 p.m. Nov. 7.
• Learned the village hired Mercer Asphalt & Sealcoat of St. Henry to perform crack and surface sealing on the walking path at South Park. Gelhaus said the park is 10 years old and "starting to show some signs of age."
• Learned crews will slip-line about 535 feet of the sanitary sewer line on Linn Street.
Additional online story on this date
CELINA - An economic development agreement proposed by the city will allow the creation of a new indoor sports facility on U.S. 127.
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