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Jul
18
2024
Village Council

Village Council to amend municipal tax code

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At the most recent Village Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 16, the group held a first reading of an ordinance that would revise several municipal income tax provisions — revisions that the Village is required to adopt before the end of 2023 per Ohio House Bill 33 that was signed into law earlier this year.

The six proposed revisions are as such:

• Local workers under 18 would be exempt from municipal income tax.

Local businesses with remote workers would be provided with an alternative apportionment for filing their net profits.

• Businesses would be provided with a one-month extension to file their net profits.

• Taxpayers who are provided a filing extension will no longer receive notices in the duration of that extension.

• Penalties would be capped, and waivers will be required for those filing their income taxes late.

• Opt-in updates would be provided to employers interested in utilizing the Ohio Business Gateway, an online platform that may help consolidate filings for businesses with locations in multiple municipalities.

In addition to those required changes passed down to the Village tax code, Ohio’s HB 33 — which was passed into law July 3 — purports to align Ohio’s “Pass-Through Entity” tax with the guidance issued by the IRS that treats entry-level taxes as a business expense deduction, not subject to the $10,000 state and local tax deduction cap.

Additionally, the bill outlines a two-year plan to decrease personal income tax — a move to simplify the tax system by reducing the number of tax brackets from four to two, and eliminating income tax for those earning $26,050 or less per year.

As for the proposed ordinance that went before Council and how it may affect local residents, Village Finance Director Amy Kemper told the News in a follow-up interview that the whole purpose of the ordinance is to align with state requirements, and that individuals would not be affected by the changes Council reviewed last Monday.

“The local income tax rate is still 1.5% — nothing at that level is changing for individuals,” Kemper said.

At the Council meeting, Village Solicitor Amy Blankenship also emphasized that the changes to the local tax code will primarily affect employers, not individuals.

“Nothing about the changes [the Village] is making here has anything to do with an individual’s income tax return,” Blankenship said. “The changes we’re making about apportionment deals with an employer’s net profit filings — not one’s personal filings.”

That change in the local tax code — which would allow employers to choose a different municipality to file their net profits — might affect how much the Village collects each year, Blankenship said.

“But I would think that this will not have a huge impact,” she said, noting that their aren’t many Yellow Springs businesses with remote workers. 

“In terms of [employers] withholding for employees who work remotely, that will stay the same as it’s always been,” Blankenship said. “It was changed a little bit [in recent years] — with some rules suspended during COVID — for companies to ignore the requirement to withhold in different communities when people were working from home, but now all those laws are back in place. Those things are not changing; this only affects a business and their net profit filing.”

As for income tax filing for minors, the municipal tax code presently requires those 16 and older to file.

Council will review the proposed ordinance for a second reading — and potentially pass it into law at the group’s next meeting Monday, Nov. 6.

In other Council business, Oct. 16—

Event sponsorship and grant policy

Council members approved a resolution that codified an official event sponsorship and grant policy for the Village.

As stated in the policy’s language, it aims to “provide a framework to facilitate appropriate governance of grant and sponsorship arrangements” to “enhance the breadth and quality of community programs and events.”

With the resolution’s passage, all Village-supported events — such as Street Fair, Pride and others — that accept “in-kind” services like traffic barricades, crowd management and traffic control, or accept donations from any Village entity are subject to the new policy.

While the policy does not put a limit on any amount the Village is willing to donate to a given applicant coordinating an event, it does detail what kinds of events the Village is willing to support.

The policy sets forth “best practices” of Village Council to support events that “meet the diverse needs” of the community and that “deliver an economic return for the business community.”

The Village will not support events that compromise Village values, or those that are in conflict with its goals. Additionally, with this policy, the Village resolved not to provide grants or sponsorships to any applicant who is coordinating an event for the state or federal government, is a political party or has already received funding for the same project within the same financial year among other applicants who don’t align with Village interests.

To read the resolution and the new policy in full, go to bit.ly/3QijxL9.

Resolutions to grant staff stipends

Council unanimously approved two resolutions to provide stipends to two Village staffers — Finance Director Amy Kemper and Water and Electric Superintendent Ben Sparks — for the additional labor they took on after Johnnie Burns assumed the role of interim village manager two months ago.

According to a memo to Council, the stipends were discussed during past negotiations with Burns before he agreed to take on the manager position, with the “understanding that Burns’ [ongoing] duties as public works director would be significantly impacted once he took on his role as village manager.”

Of Kemper — who will receive a monthly stipend of $1,250 on top of her salary — Burns said she has taken a significant amount of work off his shoulders in recent weeks.

“She’s really filled in a lot of gaps and has taken the lead on a couple major items for us — the biggest one being the [2024] budget,” Burns said.

He said Sparks — who also will receive a monthly stipend of $1,250 — also “stepped up” to take on more duties and assignments. According to Burns, Sparks now oversees all the municipal linemen and meter readers, all the electrical work, and water distribution, as well as a portion of Village building and vehicle maintenance. 

Pool and youth programs update

Head of Parks and Recreation Samantha Stewart, who also oversees the Village’s youth programming in the Bryan Center as well as the Gaunt Park Pool, gave a presentation at last Monday’s Council meeting. In it, Stewart provided Council members with an overview of the ongoing successes of Village-sponsored youth programs.

“In terms of daily activities, we see an average of 22 youths per day,” Stewart said of the Bryan Center’s after-school program. “We provide snacks and meals to an average of 15 youths per evening.”

According to her, those numbers have gone up “significantly” in the last three years since the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Stewart noted that volunteers and youth program staffers assist students with homework when needed, and most recently, have partnered with the Greene County Public Library’s tutoring program.

“We have the space for it — and the kids are already here,” Stewart said. “We’re getting a bigger turnout than the library had.”

She added that she intends to bring more high and middle school students to the tutoring program to earn their necessary service hours. Also, one-on-one tutors from The 365 Project have recently been helping students with math assignments in particular, Stewart said.

Of the locally funded Gaunt Park Pool, Stewart said the 2023 season went swimmingly. This year, the village sold to Yellow Springs residents 96 family passes, 10 senior passes, five junior passes and nine adult-plus-one-minor passes. For nonresidents, the pool sold 24 family passes, two senior passes, two junior passes and six adult passes.

As for the “Swimming for All” program, which offers 50%–100% discounted season passes to Yellow Springs residents only, Stewart petitioned for more Village support to finance the program.

“With proper funding, we could reach more people like seniors and low-income adults — who deserve a pass, too,” she said.

Stewart noted, however, that the pool was able to disburse 21 discounted “Swimming for All” passes in 2023 with the help of a grant from the YS Community Foundation that Village Clerk Judy Kintner secured.

Council member Brian Housh said he was dismayed by the lack of Village support for the discounted pass program, and said that Council would look further into funding it in the future.

The Gaunt Park pool is the last remaining municipal pool in Greene County.

The next Village Council meeting will be Monday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m., in Council Chambers in the John Bryan Community Center.

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