Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Rockford council fights plan to repeal tax rules

By Sydney Albert
ROCKFORD - Village council members on Tuesday opposed a proposed repeal of state income tax withholding rules pertaining to COVID-19-related remote workers.
A resolution stating strong opposition to Ohio Senate Bill 352 and Ohio House Bill 754 was introduced. Both bills would repeal language that states during the emergency period declared due to COVID-19, remote workers will be deemed to be working in their "principal place of work."
Fiscal officer Lisa Kuhn said under current tax code, workers' incomes would still be withheld for the community where their place of work is located. Both bills would give people working from home a credit, which she said would be very detrimental to the village's budget.
The bills would "result in a (myriad) of unintended consequences through Ohio's entire municipal income tax system" and cause substantial loss of revenue, impeding communities' ability to provide for residents and businesses, jeopardizing economic growth.
In other business, an ordinance eliminating a tax credit for those working outside the village did not receive its third reading as expected. Councilor and finance committee member Shane Young said resident Ryan Thompson had wanted to speak with council members before they voted on the ordinance but was unable to attend Tuesday night's meeting.
According to Young, Thompson said he supported village growth. However, Thompson reportedly wants members to consider putting a tax levy up for vote rather than ending the credit, thus allowing for more public input.
Thompson had reportedly agreed to attend a finance committee meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 24 to discuss the issue. Young said Thompson has done his research and contacted nearby municipalities to compare approaches. Young urged council to take Thompson's concerns into consideration.
The tabled ordinance would amend the village income tax code to rescind credit for taxes paid to other Ohio municipalities or counties in Indiana. If passed, the amendment would become effective Jan. 1 and estimated tax payments would increase and start being collected in April. Residents would then pay the full 1% income tax rate to Rockford, according to village information.
Mayor Amy Joseph said she believes eliminating the credit, would put residents on the same playing field while a levy would raise everyone's taxes.
Village offices had reportedly been closed earlier this week due to more COVID-19 cases, Joseph said. Residents can reportedly reach out online or over the phone for services.
An income tax survey, which was being conducted door-to-door, will also shift to a drop-off survey due to COVID-19 concerns.
The survey could determine whether the village is eligible for a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant, which would help fund a new water tower.
The current tower is reportedly more than 80 years old and has been experiencing multiple issues, including leaks.
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