Friday, September 10th, 2021

Council still discussing possible income tax

By Tom Millhouse
CHICKASAW - Council members at their meeting Wednesday again discussed a possible village income tax, but took no action.
Although the topic appears monthly on council's agenda, it had not been discussed since May. Mayor Ben Kramer reminded council members that if the village follows through with an anticipated $2.1 million in infrastructure projects, the village will need an extra $17,000 annually to make payments on a 30-year, $510,000 interest-free loan.
Other funding sources for the work - which is expected to begin next year and includes the reconstruction of Wayne Street, other street improvements and new utility lines - include grants and $30,000 in village matching funds. The village has not received word on whether a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant Neighborhood Revitalization Program grant will be approved.
"We'd need to find another $17,000 (if the projects proceed)," Kramer said. "A zero percent interest loan is good, but it needs to be paid back."
Councilman Jeff Pohl said it's too late to get the issue on the November ballot and if council decided to put the issue to voters, May would be the next election. He said he wouldn't want the village to incur the cost of a special election. He said it was his understanding that a 1% income tax could be enacted by ordinance, but anything above 1% would require voter approval.
Kramer said it is not known how much money would be generated by an income tax. He said he had been told that Osgood's income tax generates $100,000 per year.
Kramer said he will contact the St. Marys income tax department for guidance on estimating the local tax base. St. Marys processes income tax collections for a number of area villages.
Council members noted that people who work in the village would pay the income tax if it is implemented, but village residents who work outside the village would receive credit for the income tax they pay to the cities where they are employed. It also was pointed out that the income tax would not be paid by senior citizens.
"The down side of an income tax is that it's not stable, it goes up and down with the economy," Pohl said.
Pohl said it is important for the village to determine budgetary needs before pursuing an income tax.
"We have to get all our ducks in a row," he said. "If we are going to do this, we need to justify it."
In news related to grants, Kramer reported that the village's proposed project to install a second water line from the treatment plant in the Marion Industrial Park back to town has been ranked second among Mercer County's 10 top projects for funding through the Ohio Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Grant Program.
The proposed extension of water lines from the Chickasaw water treatment plant to Marion Local Schools was ranked fifth on the county's list of projects up for state funding. School officials have met with the village about possibly connecting to Chickasaw's water system.
Kramer said county commissioners have not made any decisions on how they will allocate $7.9 million in COVID-19 relief funds.
In other business, Council approved the local government funds allocation of $18,374 set by the Mercer County Budget Commission. Councilors also approved the tax rates set by the budget commission.
Councilors voted to increase credits through the One Call Now system provided by OnSolve to cover notifying village residents about various issues. The village will pay $90 per month for the additional credits, up from the present $32 monthly charge.
Village works coordinator Kevin Droesch updated council on a water tower rust problem. He said the company that erected the tower has agreed to provide a replacement for a rusting screen. However he said the tower will need to be cleaned as the rust has collected on part of the outer surface. Droesch said he will check on the cost of cleaning the tower.
It hasn't been determined whether the water tower company is liable for the cost of the cleaning and possible painting of the tower.
The next council meeting is 8 p.m. Oct. 13 at the village hall.
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