Garrettsville – Garrettsville village council wants the message to get out to all residents that they are required to file a village income tax form every year just like they would file a state or federal tax return.  There are exclusions for certain incomes like receiving a pension or social security, however those receiving the exclusionary incomes must notify the village’s tax office of their circumstance.

Living in the village requires payment of a 1.75% income tax that helps fund village services.  For those that work outside the village, and are required to pay taxes in the locality of their employment, the village offers a tax credit equal to 50% of the lower of the two tax rates.

Village solicitor Michelle Stuck has been diligent in recent years in finding and prosecuting non-filer and delinquent village taxpayers.  In the previous year there were 510 non-filers.  That number is now down to 176.  Fifteen warrants for arrest have also been issued for previous non-filers.

In response to the ongoing issue and in an effort to promote compliance, legislation has been drafted and presented to council that would establish a penalty for not filing an annual village income tax return.  If passed, a penalty of $100 will be assessed for any qualified resident who fails to file a tax return by the established deadline.  Any taxpayer who requests an extension for filing, but fails to file by that deadline, will also be assessed the $100 penalty.

Council President Tom Hardesty asked for proposed Ordinance 2015-10 to be placed on first reading to give residents plenty of opportunity to get the message before an actual penalty is in place.  Hardesty also wants to be clear that the penalties invoked by the proposed legislation are directed at habitual non-filers, not the newly employed teen that may be just learning about their tax responsibility.

Next on the agenda at the February 11th village council meeting, Chief Chris Sanchez of the Community EMS District presented council with a 2014 Year in Review report, which included information on calls, response times, and mutual aid.  The Community EMS District answered a total of 779 alarms, most within the district boundaries.  They also reduced their response time to an average of 5 minutes, 55 seconds, compared to 6 minutes, 2 seconds in 2013.  Council applauded Chief Sanchez and his department for their continued good work.

In other business, on first reading, was proposed Ordinance 2015-07 that would make appropriations for the 2015 fiscal year and proposed Ordinance 2015-11 which would change requirements for parking for multi-family dwellings within the village.  There will be a public hearing on 2015-11 before the April village council meeting.

Council also passed the following: Resolution 2015-08 (taking away one paid vacation day in 2015 for village employees erroneously paid for a snow day in January 2014) Resolution 2015-09 accepting the low bid for the North Street Water Main Replacement Project Phase I, Resolution 2015-13 and 2015-14 pertaining to quality control inspections and authorizing Arcadis US, Inc to provide engineering services for the water main replacement project.  Council also passed Ordinance 2015-12 approving updates to the Codified Ordinances of Garrettsville.

Council discussed the finalization of the establishment of a K-9 Fund.  The fund is for donations to help defray costs of the new K-9 officer for the village.  Donations can be made to the police department or the village clerk’s office.

During round table discussion, Councilwoman Anderson asked council for views on the information she presented at last month’s meeting and whether they would implement an employee review program.  Council president Hardesty and other council members agreed that it was a good idea and they would move ahead with the program.

Councilman Klamer presented council with his plans for sidewalk repairs for 2015, which include the completion of repairs on Center Street to Main Street, Freedom Street between SR 82 and SR 88, and South Street from Freedom Street to White Street.  He said there may also be other spot repairs needed.  Councilman Klamer would appreciate residents notifying him of any repairs needed not mentioned on the intended repair list.

Council adjourned to executive session to discuss employee compensation.  If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community attend a meeting.  The next regular Village Council meeting is scheduled for March 11, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.