St. C council opposes House Bill 5

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – City council passed several ordinances addressing ongoing and future issues during the Tuesday night’s meeting.

Council passed a resolution strongly opposing the passage of House Bill 5 by the Ohio General Assembly. The bill proposes uniformity measures for municipal income tax in the form of unfunded mandate. It is believed the bill will result in the substantial loss of revenue for the city. While municipalities agree that revenue neutral uniformity will ease compliance burdens for businesses in and potentially locating in Ohio, the language in the bill is detrimental to the financial stability of municipalities.

The motion went on to specify that unfunded mandates will cripple the ability of municipalities to provide basic services to residents and businesses. In addition, the recent reductions of Local Government Funding has meant a loss of $82,375 in revenue and will result in an additional loss of $95,830.

The city must also work under the loss of the estate tax, an annual average of $354,581. St. Clairsville has also lost $10,773 in revenue due to the accelerated phase-out of promised reimbursement for the loss of revenues to the repeal of Tangible Personal Property Tax.

Council noted that the state oversight of income tax administration, policies and procedures will hamper the ability to administer the tax effectively. Council urges the state legislators to reject the bill. The Ohio General Assembly is urged to work with local municipalities and focus on restoring previous funding levels.

In other matters, council passed an ordinance to make additional permanent appropriations for normal expenses and other expenditures for 2013. A total of $603,153.70 was appropriated for the general fund, $203.26 for drug enforcement, $2,000 for employee medical reimbursement, $35,700 for police pension and $3,424.40 in unclaimed funds. It was necessary to pass the ordinance so the city might file for an amended certificate from the county auditor.

Also, council passed an ordinance accepting the preliminary plat for the Ashburn Greene II subdivision with conditions outlined by the city planning commission. The success of Ashburn Greene has led to the planned expansion. An inspector will be on-site during construction. Compaction must be confined along Young Lane.

In addition, council passed an ordinance authorizing the director of public services to purchase a trailer-mounted high pressure sewer line cleaner under the cooperative purchasing program. An expenditure in excess of $25,000 was authorized.

Police Chief Martin Kendzora reported a major problem in parking violations on behalf of people who are researching leases at the courthouse and are ignoring the two-hour parking limit. He warned that towing would begin should these violations continue.

Regarding the city streets, council noted increasing issues with potholes, but hot patches cannot be applied until spring.

Councilman Frank Sabatino noted the fire district released its yearly report. He said fire losses for 2012 total $308,000. Structure fire loss comes to $76,200 and vehicle loss $229,000. Losses of $2,000 were from other sources.

Chris Munn, government aggregation administrator of volunteer energy, presented a check for $4,212 for the city’s community re-investment.

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