PAINESVILLE – In response to Gov. John Kasich’s proposal in the state’s budget to centralize net profit tax collections, Council suspended readings and passed a resolution in opposition at the March 20 council meeting.
Finance Director Andy Unetic addressed Council on the problems the city would face if the state should take over collection of municipal income taxes.
“This was initially just going to be for net profits, but the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) believes that this is just to get their foot in the door, and once they get this they’ll be taking over all income tax collections,” he said.
Unetic said other adverse effects of centralized collection on the city would be: lower income tax revenues which could lead to lay-offs, need for higher income taxes, need for other levies, increased fees and higher utility rates; quarterly receipt of revenues rather than monthly; loss of the capacity to track income tax revenues daily and anticipate revenues; and inability to assist residents with filing tax returns at no cost, establishing payment plans or auditing returns.
The city manager’s report stated, “The proposal is a clear attack on the home rule powers granted to municipal corporations by the Ohio Constitution.”
Ray Sternot of Birchwood Lane stated he agreed with Council passing the resolution since the state seemed to prefer to take funding from municipalities rather than raising state taxes.
He also disputed the state’s claim that taking over the municipal income tax collections would not require hiring more people at the state level.
In other business:
• Kevin Niebes was sworn in as a firefighter prior to the start of the council meeting.
• Council left tabled an ordinance amending Section 518 – Animals adding a new section on tethering animals and penalties.
• Council passed, on third reading, after taking it off the table, an ordinance enacting Chapter 915 relating to Public Rights-of-Way, with some amendments.
Last September Council passed a temporary moratorium on construction of and/or modifications to facilities within the rights-of-way.
The proposed ordinance allows the city to regulate use of the city’s rights-of-way.
The ordinance addresses the pending Senate Bill 331 which went into effect March 21.
• First reading was held on a resolution to advertise for bids and enter into a contract for the construction of a new parking lot.
Assistant City Manager Doug Lewis stated Council had included $400,000 in this year’s budget to construct a regular surface parking lot where the city’s parking garage once stood behind Victoria Place.
“Basically what they will be doing is installing new pavement, retaining walls, lighting, landscaping, striping, drainage and anything additional that may be required.”
Before that work can be done, Victoria Place must have an exterior stairwell built down to the parking lot. If that is not done promptly, it could delay the city’s project.
• First reading was held on a resolution authorizing bids for the reconstruction of Walnut Street.
The Ohio Public Works Commission is funding half the cost of the project, which will be a full reconstruction of the road from Gillett Street to Levan Drive.
• City Engineer Leanne Exum gave a presentation to Council on the various types of ways to construct, treat, finish and repair roads, and the costs for each.
• City Manager Monica Irelan reported President Donald Trump’s proposed funding cuts would eliminate all Community Development Block Grants which help communities to complete projects they could otherwise not afford.
• Councilmember Christine Shoop reminded residents to clean up after their pets when they walk them.
• Council adjourned to executive session to discuss economic development.
• The next regular meeting of council will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 3.