JACKSON CENTER — A proposal by Gov. John Kasich to centralize the collection and distribution of municipal income taxes was the main topic of discussion Monday evening at the Jackson Center Village Council meeting. Part of the governor’s 2017-18 proposed budget includes a provision to implement a state-operated tax collection service which will cause “a substantial loss of revenue needed to support the health, welfare and economic development efforts of Ohio municipalities” as noted in a council resolution that will be sent to the governor.
As part of the proposed plan the State of Ohio would impose a minimum 1.5 percent charge for every dollar of income tax collected by the village for services related to tax collection and redistribution of those funds. Council unanimously consented to sending a resolution voicing their opposition to the proposed budget declaring an emergency situation that will have negative effects on the entire Jackson Center community.
“This is just another way for Gov. Kasich to get his fingers in the cookie jar” noted village administrator Bruce Metz who indicated the language in the village resolution opposing the change left no doubt as to how and where the village stood on it’s desire to handle it’s own affairs.
“Jackson Center lost half of the State of Ohio’s local government funding in 2011” said Metz. “The governor’s proposal will add to the burden left by those cuts not to mention the fact that distribution by the state is quarterly (four times a year) whereas now we receive payments twice a month which helps us address village business in a timely manner.”
Metz said the RITA (Regional income Tax Agency) the village now uses for tax services also provides several other services which would not be provided by the state and that addressing these needs would add even more costs to an already burdened budget for the village.
Other council business included:
• A report that fire department responses for 2016 were up a little from 2015 but that in most respects police, fire, and rescue runs were about the same as last year.
• Work for installing a new traffic signal on the west side of town was underway and going according to plan. The project includes providing power for the traffic signal and upgrading city lights as well as construction of storm sewage catch basins, light pole bases, and moving buried cables as needed. The project is funded by ODOT, Jobs Ohio, the village of Jackson Center and Airstream Trailers Inc.
• Heard a report on village power usage which grew by 9 percent but was kept at a lower rate through implementation of PAC (Power Cost Adjustment) a type of level billing which helps keeps cost at a lower and more consistent rate, a definite advantage for local residents..
• Noted the village is currently accepting open bids for a 4,000-square-foot storage building at the wastewater treatment plant.
• Discussed application for Verizon to build a 300-foot cellular telephone tower on the property of Dennis Lotz on the north side of town.
• Heard a progress report on the development of walking path, soccer fields, restrooms and a retention/detention basin for the City Park located behind Grace Lutheran Church on the south-west side of town.
• Listened to concerns of a Miami county resident who said he represented a small group that is concerned about the employment status of Police Chief Joe Cotterman who is currently on leave pending charges that may affect his future prospects as village police chief.
• Went into executive session to discuss personnel items. No action was taken.
Council’s next meeting will be held Monday, Feb. 27.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.