A number of legislative issues have come before members of the Montpelier Village Council over the last few meetings. Included among them are:
•Resolution 1120 – A Resolution Authorizing the Village Manager to Seek Proposals for A Comprehensive Plan. Mrs. Pam Lucas noted that quotes should be sent to the village and opened at the village. They could then be approved by the Law Director. It was suggested to table the issue until needed revisions could be made. However, during the November 9 meeting, Mrs. Lucas stated she and other administrative staff involved have not had a chance to work on the updates to the comprehensive plan. She requested that the matter be postponed this until the December 21, 2015 council meeting. Mayor Yagelski called for a motion three times to postpone Resolution 1120 until the December 21 meeting. No motion was made.
•Resolution 1121 – A Resolution Approving a Transfer from the General Fund for Current Expenses of the Village of Montpelier for the Year Ending December 31, 2015. The housekeeping item, which is done two or three times a year in order to pay police pension, saw no opposition.
•Resolution 1122 – A Resolution to Amend Appropriations for Current Expenses and Other Expenditures of the Village of Montpelier During the Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2015. Mrs. Kelly Hephner explained the changes in the appropriations that were necessary. The resolution passed under emergency language.
•Resolution 1123 – A Resolution Authorizing the Village Manager to Advertise for Bid and Contract for the West Main Street Reclamation Project in the Village of Montpelier. It was noted that the village has received around $772,000 in funding for the project. The resolution passed under emergency language.
•Resolution 1124 – A Resolution to Make Appropriations for Current Expenses and Other Expenditures of the Village of Montpelier During the Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2015. Mrs. Hephner stated that Resolution 1124 will set in place the budget for the next year, and will allow us to continue operations. She stated the budget for 2016 is just under $15,000,000. Ordinance 2194 also deals with the budget, and calls for a change in the allocation of the 1% income tax. The Resolution passed under emergency language.
•Ordinance 2190 – An Ordinance Amending Certain Sections of Chapter 351 (Parking Generally) of the Codified Ordinances of Montpelier. Mrs. Lucas wanted to clarify that passing this Ordinance does not approve a parking permit program; it only allows the ability of one to be approved by Council in the future. The Ordinance passed under suspension of the rules requiring three readings. Mrs. Lucas recommended the Parking Permit Program be sent to a committee and it was recommended that committee be the Personnel and Safety Committee and to include Chief Dan McGee, Pam Lucas and Chris Walker. The committee will take into consideration the action taken, any revisions and will bring their recommendation back to full council. Such motion also gained approval.
•Ordinance 2191 – An Ordinance to Exempt Certain Income and Include Certain Income of Individuals Under the Age of 18 Years Within the Meaning of “Municipal Taxable Income” Effective January 1, 2016. Mrs. Lucas presented Ordinance 2191 to Council and had Mrs. Kelly Hephner and Mrs. Nikki Uribes explain the ordinance and Ordinances 2192 and 2193. Mrs. Hephner stated that this year, the State Legislature passed revisions to House Bill 5 regarding Income tax regulations. They have limited Ohio municipality’s ability to collect income tax in some areas. With the new changes, loss of revenue may be significant. Mrs. Hephner stated that in talking to other people and communities they are proposing two different changes. The village currently does not tax persons working who are under age 18; and the village is proposing levying a tax on W-2 wages for persons under age 18. Mrs. Hephner advised that most employers withhold the tax now, and the village has to work to refund the money, so it is not a big change for the employers, and those under age 18 would not have mandatory filing. In Ordinance 2192, instead of a complete reciprocity of the 1.6% income tax (full credit), the proposed ordinance would allow the village to give tax credit up to 1% for residents who live in the Village of Montpelier, but work outside of the village limits. Mrs. Hephner stated that Ordinance 2193 is the new income tax ordinance that was passed by the Ohio Legislature. The Ordinance passed by reading of title on both October 26 and November 9.
•Ordinance 2192 – An Ordinance Specifying the Income Tax Credit Allowed for Tax Paid to Another Municipality Within the State of Ohio. During the November 9 meeting, Mrs. Kelly Hephner explained that she would like council to move to remove this ordinance from consideration at this time, with the privilege of proposing this change in the future if necessary. She would like to be able to conduct further research and see how the new tax law affects the income tax revenue before making this change to the tax code.
•Ordinance 2193 – An Ordinance to Add Chapter 185 to the Codified Ordinance of the Village of Montpelier Regarding Municipal Income Tax Effective on and after January 1, 2016. Mrs. Uribes pointed out that if a company pays their withholding tax late, there is a 50% withholding penalty on the amount that is due. The new law also makes it mandatory for tax payers to file and pay estimated tax due for the current tax year. Example: Some people pay this in full at the time they file their taxes, but with the new law, if their estimated tax for the new tax year is $200 or over, they will have to pay the village a minimum of 90% of their estimated quarterly tax throughout the year the tax is being earned. If the taxpayer happens to underpay, there is a penalty and the estimated tax must be paid by Dec. 15th. The Ordinance passed on first reading.
•Ordinance 2194 – An Ordinance Amending a Certain Section of Chapter 181 of the Montpelier Code which Amendment Provides for the Changing of the Division of the One Percent Income Tax Levied Pursuant to Section 181 of the Code from 40% Operating Expenses of the Village and 60% Capital Improvements to 55% Operating Expenses and 45% Capital Improvements Effective January 1 2016. The Ordinance passed with the rules requiring three readings having been suspended.
Also discussed during the meetings was the Hartman/Mercer House. The suit has been filed and there is a dumpster at the house on North East Avenue and Madison Street. No further information is available.
Additionally, Chris Kannel spoke on behalf of the Rotary Club and several other civic organizations regarding a project that they would like to proceed with at the Storrer Park. The project would include a basketball court and an ampi-theater. The project has been approved by the Park Board. There is going to be a committee for the project that will include two representatives each from the Montpelier Rotary Club, the Montpelier Civic League, and the Athena Study Club. A Park Board representative along with Sandy Gordon, Park Recreation Director, and Don Brown, Park Supervisor will also be on the committee.
Pam Lucas also informed council that the Village has received a settlement check from the State of Ohio regarding the investigation and law suit filed on behalf of the Ohio Attorney General. Unfair bidding practices were found and a check was issued to the Village for $900 as a result.
Lucas and Hephner also discussed questions regarding the proposed Utility Rules and Regulations. Hephner noted that there have been questions about how other communities handle utility deposits and landlord notifications. She noted that she has contacted neighboring communities and that the majority do not allow landlords to decide whether or not a payment plan should be allowed in regards to an impending shut off. She suggested that if the landlords are worried about utilities that they should think about keeping the utility account in their name. She also stated that, ironically, AMP and another organization is currently doing a survey on Utility regulations. She has not received these results and would like to see what the data shows before taking any official action. Mr. Hephner was asked if the Village is looking into smart meters and she said yes.