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Green opposes state control of business taxes

3/16/2017 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

City to hire another engineer in May

With the help of community and school groups and local residents, Green Council Clerk Molly Kapeluck collected 100 Easter baskets for foster children in Summit County.
Photo courtesy of the City of Green
GREEN — Green doesn’t want the State of Ohio taking over a well-run function currently under its jurisdiction.

The city is joining other municipalities in the state in expressing opposition to Gov. John Kasich’s plan for the state to centralize the collection of net business profits.

Part of the governor’s budget proposal, the plan would require businesses to file net profit tax returns with the state rather than with the municipalities in which they are located, according to Finance Director Steven Schmidt. The state would deduct a fee of 1 percent for processing the taxes before giving the remaining amount over to the city, he said.

The measure only would affect businesses in the state, not individual residents, he said.

If put in place, the plan would “take power” from municipalities, Schmidt said.

“The city would lose all rights for auditing local taxes and being proactive as businesses move in,” he said.

At the March 14 regular meeting, City Council unanimously approved on first reading passage of a resolution opposing Kasich’s budget that mandates the centralized collection and administration of municipal net profit taxes and returns by the Ohio Department of Taxation.

According to the adopted resolution, the city is opposed to those provisions in the governor’s proposed 2017-18 budget that will eliminate all municipalities’ authority to administer, audit and correct municipal income tax business returns and prohibit municipalities from equitably enforcing its municipal income tax law.

“Only municipalities can confirm the proper apportionment and provide the prompt and proper audition of local tax returns to ensure all applicable deductions and declarations are reported, thus also ensuring that all taxpayers pay their fair share,” the adopted legislation states.

“This is an issue we need to oppose,” said Council President Chris Humphrey (at large). “We need to keep this function here in the City of Green.”

While he understands Kasich’s desire to streamline municipal income taxes for Ohio businesses, Humphrey said Green’s Income Tax Office, under Income Tax Administrator David Hartsook, already does a “tremendous job” at handling the tax filings by city businesses.

Humphrey said the plan would cost the city about $34,000 a year, due to the 1 percent collection fee that would be charged by the state.

Councilman Stephen Dyer (at large) said the Ohio Municipal League came out against the measure. He said it was important for Green to “stand up and be counted.”

Councilman John “Skip” Summerville (Ward 4) said the state would not be more efficient with the collections than Green already is.

“Bureaucracy gets in the way and we don’t need any more of that, that is for sure. I am in favor of keeping things the way they are right now,” he said.

The approved resolution urges the Ohio General Assembly to keep the collection of business profits at the local level.

Also at the regular meeting, Council heard the second reading of legislation that would allow for the creation of the position engineer 1 in the city. City Engineer Paul Pickett said the engineering office has not added an employee since 2004. Since that time, various city programs have evolved, he explained. Pickett said adding an entry level civil engineer would help the city with the maintenance of storm water runoff and road pavement conditions, among other duties.

He said the position would not be filled until May, giving this year’s college graduates the opportunity to apply.

Councilman Ken Knodel (Ward 3) said he sees much benefit to adding the position, as more in-house engineering could be done.

“We would be able to address more issues in the city,” he said.

Knodel added the additional engineer position has been a desire of Council for a while.

Mayor Gerard Neugebauer said the starting salary for the position most likely would be between $45,000 and $50,000.

Also at the regular meeting, Council approved changing the zoning classification of approximately 3.3 acres of land located on the west side of Massillon Road, south of Wise Road, from R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to B-3 (Neighborhood Business) and approximately 1.4 acres of adjacent land from B-1 (General Business) to B-3 to accommodate a heating and cooling business’ main office.

Council also approved establishing two street lighting districts. The first is for Kings Ridge, Phase VI Subdivision, and the second is for Kings Ridge, Phase VII, Subdivision.

In addition, at the meeting Council introduced the following pieces of legislation:

• a resolution authorizing the purchase of one 2017 Ford Transit Cargo Utility Van from Middletown Ford Inc. for use by the city’s Service Department;

• a resolution awarding a contract to Northstar Asphalt Inc. for the city’s 2017 concrete rehabilitation project; and

• an ordinance authorizing the city to execute a water utility easement, granting Aqua Ohio Inc. a 10-foot by 128-foot easement on property owned by the City of Green at 4310 Massillon Road.

In other city news, Humphrey acknowledged Council Clerk Molly Kapeluck’s recent coordinated effort to collect Easter baskets for foster children in Summit County. Kapeluck has gathered Easter baskets for children for several years now.

One hundred baskets, with the help of community and school groups and local residents, were put together this year, which is a new record, Kapeluck said.

Humphrey congratulated Kapeluck and thanked her for taking the lead on the project.

Also at the meeting, Knodel announced a representative of Summit County Environmental Health will be at the next regular meeting of Council’s Transportation, Connectivity and Storm Water Committee, March 28 around 5 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Central Administration Building (CAB), 1755 Town Park Blvd. Knodel said the individual would provide an overview on the inspections of septic systems in the city.

The next Council meeting is set for March 28, starting at 5 p.m. with committee meetings and followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the CAB.

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