Latest fee option heads to city council

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 2004

Ironton's latest $10 municipal fee does not appear to be faring any better than its predecessors but it made it out of the Ironton Finance Committee Thursday, albeit with an unfavorable recommendation.

Three other versions of the $10-per-month, per household fee have been voted down previously but this version will be on Thursday's agenda to receive a second reading.

Councilman Richard Price is the sole sponsor of the ordinance that would generate some much needed revenue. The primary difference between Price's

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version and previous ones is that it allows for an annual refund for each residence in which the primary income earner pays more than $60 per year in income tax.

"I feel personally that the people who are carrying the burden of the city with income taxes should not have to be as burdened with the municipal fee as someone who is not paying anything," Price said.

"This is to me a compromise between the different sides of council. I think we are on different pages of the hymnal. I just hope this can bring us back together. I don't know if this is something I support 100 percent, but I think it moves us forward."

If adopted, the proposal will cost retirees and others with no monthly income the full $10 per month. If someone pays any amount of income taxes up to a maximum of $60 per year then they would receive an equal amount refunded - if their water bills are up to date.

The most refund anyone could receive would be $60. Price said the fee would be repealed if the voters approve a half-percent income tax increase on Nov. 2. City Finance Director Cindy Anderson said it is impossible to determine exactly how much money the proposal would generate. A worst case scenario would bring $275,000 - half of the $550,000 projected by the previous municipal fee. When combined with the approximately $350,000 that is expected to be generated from the city's reciprocity change, the new fee would help the city balance the budget that continues to show a half million dollar deficit.

Finance Committee members Brent Pyles, Chuck O'Leary and Jesse Roberts all expressed a variety of concerns about the plan including legality, how it would be administered, fairness, how rental units would he affected and the additional paperwork it require within the city administration.

"Right now, we just have too many questions and concerns," Roberts said.

In other business, the committee:

4Favorably recommended legislation seeking a $357,300 grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission to upgrade telemetry systems at five of the city's sewage lift stations.

4Favorably recommended a resolution authorizing the city to participate with the county in the state's Issue II funding program seeking $45,000 in grants to do paving work in the State Route 141 area. The city would have to provide $11,240 for matching funds. The city applied for the project last year but it was not approved.

After the finance meeting, City Council met in special session to adopt the resolution.

4Favorably recommended legislation authorizing the city to award a $686,878 bid to Mountain Enterprises to perform the on-system street improvement project.

Portions of Park Avenue, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth streets will be paved and have curb improvements. The project will be paid for with Empowerment Zone and KYOVA funds.

4Favorably recommended line item budget changes in the wastewater collection fund.