ST. PARIS – After weeks of discussion by village council members and residents, a proposed amendment to the village’s income tax ordinance was met with silence when put to a vote Monday.
When Mayor Joe Reneer asked council for a motion to approve an amendment that would remove the village’s income tax credit no motions were given and the amendment was struck down.
The proposed amendment was addressed during the Aug. 3 meeting when council voted on whether to remove the income tax credit through an amendment or ballot issue. A motion to amend the tax credit ordinance as well as a motion for a zero percent credit passed.
If the village gave a zero percent credit, $113,143 would have been generated for the village based on 2012 numbers. The removal of the tax credit would have gone into effect Jan. 1, 2016, if the amendment had passed.
Before the amendment was put to a vote, council answered multiple questions from residents during a work session held prior to the regular meeting and the discussion continued prior to the vote. Residents asked council why this was not placed on a ballot for the public to decide and what impact it would have on residents who work outside the village.
At one point in the work session, council member Niven Jester presented a potential alternative to removing the income tax by cutting the village’s police department and receiving law enforcement services from the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.
Jester is a sheriff’s deputy and previously worked for the village police department.
As part of his proposal, Jester said the village could save around $150,000, which would prevent a removal of the income tax.
Jester said the village could go with five full-time deputies who would provide 24/7 coverage at the same budget the village operates the police department on now or have two deputies assigned to the village similar to North Lewisburg. The village would provide office space for the sheriff’s office and maintain vehicles used by the deputies.
“We’ve had one armed robbery and two burglaries in the last three years,” Jester said. “At no fault of their own, the training is lacking in the police department. You would get the professionalism of the sheriff’s office; you would get all of the resources of the sheriff’s office.”
Jester stated the village police department had all-day coverage while he was working there, but now some shifts go uncovered. He suggested putting a levy on next year’s primary ballot to vote to keep the police department or to dissolve the department and contract with the sheriff’s office.
Council approves vehicle purchase
Village Administrator Joe Sampson informed council that the turbo shaft of a street truck went out, costing about $1,200 to fix after the vehicle also experienced other issues.
“We’re down to the point of where we have to do something with that truck,” Sampson said. “It is not going to make it through winter; we’re not going to be able to plow snow with that truck.”
After council discussed financial and repair options, it approved purchasing a new truck with a snow plow through a local bank.
Sampson also told council that the village is using a small pickup truck for snow plowing, but it has required a lot of maintenance. He noted the truck is for the water and sewer department.
Looking at used truck prices, Sampson said, it would be cheaper to purchase a new truck. Council approved the purchase of a Ford F-350 with a plow.
In other action:
•Council heard a presentation from Marcia Bailey, economic development director for the Champaign Economic Partnership, about the organization’s structure and goals to promote economic development in the county.
•Reneer thanked anyone who was involved in the Pony Wagon Days festivities earlier this month, but said the Pony Wagon Days association needs volunteers. He added Our Town St. Paris is also seeking volunteers for the Holiday in the Village event on Dec. 5. An Our Town Association meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, at the municipal building.
•Council approved the nomination of resident Stuart Everett to the Johnson-St. Paris fire board, 4-2, after a previous nomination was rejected. Council members Brad Kennedy and Jana Crawford voted against the nomination.
•Sampson mentioned he had several concerns on Rupolo Drive in reference to drainage and the street. He suggested organizing a meeting for residents on that street to discuss potential options with them. Council approved holding this informational meeting for Rupolo Drive and Louise Drive residents, but no time and date were established.
•Trick or Treat in the village will be held on Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.