Coal Grove considers unpaid water bills
Published 11:06 am Thursday, February 9, 2017
Coal Grove Village Council heard concerns about unpaid water bills during the administrative report to council on Wednesday night. Currently unpaid water bills result in service being shut off after two months delinquency. However nothing stops the tenant or property owner from having water turned back on in someone else’s name. Though council has not been enforcing it, legal counsel for the village, Mark McCown explained that responsibility for paying that bill passes to the property owner if the tenant refuses to pay it. If the landowner fails to then pay the bill, McCown explained, council may turn the unpaid fees over to the county auditor to be assessed onto their property taxes, once those fees had been certified as delinquent. The auditor would then remit those funds to the village once they had been collected. This would require council to pass an ordinance for each delinquent property owner before passing the amount to the auditor.
McCown also noted that issues like an unpaid $1500 water bill at one residence, which resulted from an unrepaired broken water line, didn’t necessarily require the village to wait two months before shutting off the water. In cases like that, McCown explained, where excessive water flow could cause issues for neighbors or to village infrastructure, the village is legally allowed to shut off water after providing 72 hours notice to the tenant.
In other action the council moved to table a contentious income tax ordinance that had council split on whether to provide any type of income tax reciprocity, rather than grant it a third reading. Currently the village offers 75% reciprocity. This means that if you live in Coal Grove, but work in another municipality that charges you income tax there, you don’t have to pay the full 1% in income tax that the village charges for individuals who live and work within the village. Those individuals pay their full 1% to Ironton or Ashland and then pay only .25% of their income tax to the village. The current draft of the ordinance mirrors the ordinance for Ironton, and offers no reciprocity. Some council members wish to provide 100% reciprocity, which would mean that if someone pays income tax in the district where they work they wouldn’t have to pay any income tax to Coal Grove. Others wish to provide no reciprocity, in which case residents who work outside the village would pay a full 1% to Coal Grove in addition to whatever percentage they pay to the municipality where they work. Fiscal officer Dylan Markins explained that doing away with the .25% income tax completely could result in a loss of up to $60,000 or more in annual revenue for the village. Council moved to table the resolution until Markins could come up with more concrete numbers relating to the money that could be lost if 100% reciprocity were granted.
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In other action council moved to enter into the first reading of an ordinance amending water service and collection, an ordinance related to various fees concerning water and sewage, and an ordinance related to various rates concerning water and sewage.
Council also moved to suspend the three reading rule and pass an ordinance granting the county auditor unredeemed tax lien certificates. This will allow the auditor to pass those properties to the county land bank where they can be demolished and the land made ready for reuse at no cost to the village. Council also moved to suspend the three reading rule and pass an ordinance adopting permanent appropriations for all 2016 funds, declaring the same an emergency.