SIDNEY — The city of Sidney’s permanent 1.5 percent income tax is its primary revenue source supporting services including police, fire, emergency medical, parks and community recreation.
“This portion of Sidney’s income tax generated $14.5 million in 2017, down $2.2 million from the $16.7 million collected in 2016,” said Ginger Adams, finance officer. “Approximately $1.9 million of this decrease was attributable to corporate taxes.”
Her report continues:
Traditionally, corporate taxes are a volatile revenue source subject to upward, as well as downward, swings from year to year. Taxes withheld from employees generated $11.5 million in 2017, as compared to $11.8 million collected in 2016. However, 2016 collections were higher due to newly enacted semi-monthly withholding payments by our larger employers. Excluding this one-time “bump” in 2016, the growth in withholding collections would have been about 1.8 percent. In response to the unexpected loss of corporate taxes, mid-year budget adjustments were made to limit capital spending. Over the long term, this tax loss altered plans to add back primarily safety services staffing to pre-recession levels and limited our ability to fund capital projects.
Sidney’s 2018 operating budget of $28.8 million represents a 1.0 percent increase from 2017. With income taxes unavailable to pay for additional staffing, a new vacant property inspector, charged with operating a new vacant property registration and inspection program, was funded using lodging tax dollars.
Sidney’s additional 0.25 percent income tax, dedicated to the repair of Sidney’s streets, alleys, bridges, curbs and gutters, generated $2.4 million in 2017 and $7.4 million since its inception. Over the five-year levy, this tax should generate at least $12.8 million. Sidney’s 2018 capital budget includes approximately $3.9 million dedicated to street resurfacing with $3.3 million of this paid for with street tax levy. Slated for 2018 is the next round of Ohio EPA-required sewer system improvements, as well as water treatment plant equipment replacement and water main replacements. Funding of the 3rd Fire Station began in 2016 with the purchase of land. Another $50,000 is budgeted in 2018 for conceptual design and initial engineering. With our ladder truck no longer able to be driven, nearly $1.2 million is set aside to replace the fire ladder truck and a fire engine with a Platform Quint. Until the Quint is purchased, the city is dependent upon mutual aid for ladder-required emergencies.
Utility fee increases are in the 1 percent to 4 percent range. A monthly stormwater capital charge of $0.90 per equivalent unit will begin in 2018 and be used exclusively to replace Sidney’s aging stormwater system. The average family of four should notice roughly a $4.10 increase in their monthly utility bill, with the low volume user experiencing approximately a $2.42 increase.
You may opt to receive your Sidney utility bill electronically. You have immediate, 24/7 secure access to your billing information with a 13-month history at your fingertips and its environmentally friendly. To switch, visit www.sidneyoh.com/Utility-Billing and click on the “Receive your Utility Bill by email” link. Create your account using information from your most recent utility statement.
The city is dedicated to providing responsible financial management of its public resources. View Sidney’s 2018 budget, audited annual financials, and monthly financials at http://sidneycityoh.minutesondemand.com/. Open the “City Financial Information” box on the page’s lower-left corner.
Your 2017 Sidney income tax return (or extension) is due no later than April 17, 2018. Forms are available at the City’s website (www.sidneyoh.com) or City Hall office at 201 West Poplar open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 14, to assist you with Sidney return preparation at no charge. (An exemption form is available for retired/disabled residents having no Sidney taxable income.)