ST. PARIS – Village council fielded multiple questions from residents regarding a potential amendment to the village’s income tax ordinance Wednesday.
During council’s Aug. 3 meeting, council voted on whether to remove the income tax credit through an amendment or ballot issue. A motion to amend the tax credit ordinance was passed.
Council then voted on what percentage of the income tax credit would be removed and a motion for a zero percent credit passed.
Prior to holding a second reading on the amendment Wednesday, council member Jana Crawford said she was thinking about having the rate be gradually removed over a few years. The motion was not seconded and failed.
When council asked for citizen comment on the potential change, residents asked why the decision was not put to a ballot. Prior to passing a motion to amend the ordinance on Aug. 3, a ballot issue motion failed 2-3 with council members Lynn Miller, Brad Kennedy and Crawford voting against it.
“In a situation like that, now you have individuals that are paying for the streets you’re driving on and the infrastructure that you’re enjoying and the police protection you get when they pay that one percent income tax,” Kennedy said in response to his vote. “If we put it on a ballot, and it’s known that in a small village like this we’ve got like 2,000 residents and the majority work (outside of the village) and they say ‘no I don’t want to pay for that’ and then the people that are paying that one percent income tax that work within the village now they’re fitting the bill.”
Kennedy said the tax credit has been in effect since the early 1970s and the village is trying to do a lot with few resources. He noted he works outside the village and added the village would benefit when the credit goes away.
“We’ve got a situation in the village and we have to be able to correct that situation,” Kennedy said. “We’re not raising the income tax, what we’re doing is we’re removing the credit. If you look at statistics, over 80 percent of the villages in the state of Ohio have done away with that.”
Mayor Joe Reneer said through state law, council has the ability to amend the income tax credit to remove it. If council wished to raise the income tax, Reneer said state law requires this to be voted on by citizens.
Council agreed to hold the third reading during their Sept. 21 meeting.
No council meeting on Sept. 7
Council agreed to not hold a council meeting on Sept. 7, which is Labor Day. Barring the need for an emergency session, the next council meeting will be held on Sept. 21.
Council will also hold a work session at 6:30 p.m. prior to the Sept. 21 meeting, when discussion on the amendment to the income tax credit ordinance is expected to continue.
Council accepts mayor’s court resignation
Council accepted the resignation of mayor’s court bailiff William Wallace. The resignation was effective Aug. 6.
Wallace was hired as the mayor’s court bailiff last October and received a renewal contract this summer that would be in effect from July 1 through June 30, 2016.
Later in the meeting, council approved a contract for Kristopher Cosme to replace Wallace as the bailiff. The contract is in effect from Aug. 19 until June 30, 2016, and will be renewed on a yearly basis.
The contract may be terminated by either party through a 30-day written notice. Cosme will be compensated $50 per court session.
In other action:
•Council removed an ordinance previously asking to look at increasing sewer and water rates in preparation of moving forward with a water treatment facility. The subject was brought up during the July 20 meeting before it was tabled on Aug. 3.
•Council rescinded an ordinance for an Ohio Department of Transportation project. State Route 235 was expected to be micro-surfaced. Council previously passed the ordinance last November. Council member Niven Jester said Wednesday the work would be scheduled later.
•Reneer said he received a letter from JSP Lt. Vance McCulla stating that the Johnson-St. Paris Firefighter’s Association raised over $5,000 to support a fireworks event the association hosted in late June. McCulla thanked the village for the donation and referenced the compliments the association received from citizens about the event.
•Council approved a proclamation declaring September as prostate cancer awareness month.
•JSP will hold a community fish fry from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the firehouse, 403 W. Main St.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.