SIDNEY — A review of Sidney Waterpark rates and new, replacement language on the upcoming income tax levy were considered Monday during Sidney City Council’s meeting.
Sidney Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier presented council with information about fees and goals associated with Sidney Waterpark for 2019.
Gaier said to recover 40 percent goal of operating costs, in light of declining park attendance (since 2009), he recommended raising pass and rental fees. He said the income tax subsidy will cover the remaining 60 percent of operating costs and 100 percent of capital costs. However, approximately 40 percent of 2019 budgeted expenditures would be covered by 2019 budgeted revenue, so fee increases are necessary.
City staff recommended increasing the 2019 individual-only season pass to $34 from $33. He recommended keeping the daily admission fee for adults, seniors and youth at $4.50, but raising the daily admission for preschool children to $4 from $3.50.
Training rentals would remain at $15 per hour per guard required. Also, Gaier said the two-hour pool rental would remain at $300, which would cover staffing costs up to $273. Replacement photo season passes are recommended to increase to $15 from $10. All active military personnel on leave who show proper identification would be admitted for free.
Council member Ed Hamaker asked where else you could go to have fun all summer for $34, and noted that was a very reasonable price for a season pool pass.
Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan, who conducted the meeting in Mayor Mike Barhorst’s absence, asked Gaier if he was aware of other communities that offer a free day to enter the pool — either just once a season, or once a week or a once a month. She also asked if any other cities charge different entrance fees based on whether guests were residents or not. Council member Joe Ratermann said he thought offering a free pool day is a good idea and good marketing tool. Gaier said he would look into it and get back to council.
An ordinance on the Waterpark rates will be introduced at the March 25 meeting.
In other business, an ordinance to make supplemental appropriations for 2019 was removed from Monday’s agenda and rescheduled to return for consideration at the March 25 meeting. Instead a resolution addressing levy replacement language, which council adopted Monday evening, was added to the agenda at the top of the meeting.
The current 0.25 percent levy, which has been on the books for five years, is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2019. City Council is asking voters to approve a new 0.3 percent income tax levy, which will appear on the May ballot. The funds raised will be divided between road repairs (0.15 percent) and the fire department (0.15 percent).
City Manager Mark Cundiff said city staff has been working with the local board of elections office, Ohio Secretary of State’s Office and the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office on the levy wording that will be on the May ballot. He said the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office removed the word “earned” from the originally submitted ballot’s levy language. The secretary of state referred city staff to newly revised sections of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) which describes new language for “earned” income. The wording has changed. “Earned” is no longer included or is defined term in the ORC. The new wording for “earned” income has been replaced with municipal taxable income.
Law Director Jeffery Amick said they just learned Monday afternoon about the final necessary changes for the ballot language. In order to get the correct language printed in time, as ballots go to print this week, City Council needed to pass a resolution with the appropriate language to be printed.
Questions arose about what municipal taxable income means. Hamaker asked for clarity about things such as Social Security or 401K investments. He noted the word “earned” makes more sense for people to understand what is not taxable. Amick agreed but explained the new code language explains municipal taxable income does exempt things such as Social Security, pensions, dividends and interest.
Council voted to repeal the previously passed levy resolution and then adopted the resolution containing the new levy language to be printed on the May ballot.
Hamaker and Amick emphasized the city needs to educated people about what the new terminology on the ballot means.
Barhorst and Council member Darryl Thurber were both absent and excused by council Monday.
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