The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jul. 2, 2022

Tax credit upped for out-of-city workers

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council approved doubling the tax credit for city residents who work someplace other than Van Wert, contingent on passage of the 0.28-percent income tax increase at Monday’s regular meeting, while retiring Income Tax Administrator Rudy Grant was also honored for his 27 years of service.

Van Wert Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming (right) gives Income Tax Administrator Rudy Grant (center) a certificate of appreciation for his 27 years of service to the city, while Mayor Jerry Mazur looks on. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Grant attended the meeting to provide information on the impact of increasing the credit for those who pay city taxes, but work elsewhere, noting the city currently gives those taxpayers a 25-percent credit, which amount to approximately $100,000 in lost income tax revenues.

Increasing the credit to 50 percent for city residents who don’t work here would increase the loss of tax revenues to approximately $200,000, Grant said, while also noting the tax increase, if approved by voters in November, would increase revenues by approximately $1 million.

“It’s a $200,000 loss versus a $1 million gain,” Grant said, noting his figures were “a little bit generous,” since he wanted to be on the high side, rather than the low side, when estimating the potential loss to the city.

City Council later approved legislation allowing for the increased tax credit for those who live in the city, but work elsewhere, contingent on passage of the tax increase.

Following his income tax presentation, Grant was honored for his tenure with the city by Mayor Jerry Mazur and Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming. Fleming first gave Grant a certificate of appreciation for his 27 years of city employment. Grant, who served in the United States Air Force from 1964-1990, retired as a chief master sergeant — the highest noncommissioned officer rank in the service. On June 11, 1990, Grant was hired as deputy income tax administrator, and later became code enforcement officer on July 13, 1998. On July 12, 1999, he was appointed city tax administrator and has spent nearly 18 years in that position.

Mayor Mazur also presented Grant with a proclamation honoring his service.

After honoring Grant, the mayor also noted that city officials were holding a number of informational sessions on the income tax increase for local service clubs and other organizations.

Also Monday, Andrew Coutts, public affairs liaison and project management officer for Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who provided information on Mandel’s Open Checkbook initiative. Coutts said the program provides transparency for city residents who want to know and understand the city’s finances.

“It is about increasing transparency,” Coutts said, while also noting that the city would benefit from the site’s excellent budgetary software.

City Auditor Martha Balyeat said it was interesting that, after reviewing the three years of financial data included on the Open Checkbook site, she discovered that all three years were very similar, when it came to annual financial results.

“We’re very consistent,” Balyeat said.

After hearing Coutts’ presentation, City Council voted in favor of participating in the free state initiative, which Coutts said could be up and running in approximately two weeks.

Councilman At-Large Bill Marshall also talked about repeat code violators and meetings he has had with City Law Director John Hatcher and City Engineering Supervisor Bill Lawson about the need for increasing the penalties for serial code violators.

Currently, the city places a tax lien on a residence or business when the city mows or otherwise cleans up a property where code violations such as excess weeds, grass, or junk are found. The problem, as Balyeat noted, is when those properties are sold, usually through foreclosure or a sheriff’s auction, the city rarely recoups the tax liens, which can result in thousands of dollars in revenues lost.

More importantly, the tax liens don’t act as a deterrent to serial code violators, Marshall noted, while adding that having a $100 fine for violations also doesn’t provide much of a deterrent.

“I don’t think you get their attention $100 at a time,” Marshall said, adding that he, Hatcher, and Lawson will be looking at the current code violation legislation to see if more stringent penalties could be enacted.

Under its consent agenda, Council approved a resolution accepting the tax amounts and rates as determined by the Van Wert County Budget Commission, and an ordinance renewing the city’s job creation incentive program.

Also approved were a resolution that would prohibit the issuance of permits allowing for cultivation or sale of medical marijuana, and an ordinance banning the feeding of stray animals, both on third and final reading.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Van Wert City Council will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, September 11, in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 08/29/17 at 7:37 am. FILED UNDER: News