PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission made their strong opposition to provisions in Gov. John Kasich’s proposed 2018-19 budget known Tuesday evening during their meeting.
“Unfortunately we have to take this position,” City Manager Gary Huff said.
A provision within the governor’s state budget proposal would require businesses to file municipal income tax with the state. The state would then redistribute the funds with a 1 percent administration fee. The administration fee could cost the city between $150,000-300,000.
“We view this … as just another money-grab from the state,” Huff said. This proposal follows the elimination of estate taxes, the repeal of the Tangible Personal Property Tax, severe decreases in Local Government Fund allocations, and the passage of House Bill 5, which the city estimates cost Piqua over $1 million in income tax revenues annually.
The proposal would mandate businesses to file their net profit return through the Ohio Business Gateway. The Ohio Business Gateway is controlled by the Ohio Department of Taxation and the funds would be filed without auditing services.
“It’s not user-friendly,” Huff said about the Ohio Business Gateway.
Huff also noted that this proposed program prevents the city from completing their own audits.
Another concern for the city is when they will receive the money from the state. Huff drew upon his experience in Indiana where he faced this similar issue, saying that his municipality there did not receive income tax money for three years. While waiting to receive their income tax money from businesses, Huff said that they were basically told to borrow money if the city did not have the money to provide their services.
“I think this is a bad plan,” Huff said. “It will cost us money … We see it as a complete disaster.”
Mayor Kazy Hinds noted that other municipalities are passing similar resolutions in opposition to these provisions in the governor’s proposed budget.
“Do you think this will do any good?” commissioner Bill Vogt asked.
Huff said that the city hopes state legislators are listening to municipalities on this issue and realizing the hardships that the state might put them through due to these provisions.
“It won’t work, and it’s going to be a disaster,” Huff said about the proposal. As for other municipalities, Huff added, “Everyone’s standing together.”
The resolution urges state legislators to reject these provisions.
Also on the agenda, the commission approved purchasing the Roosevelt Field House and property adjacent to it from the Piqua City School District pending approval from the school district.
Roosevelt Field House, located at 401 E. Ash St., was identified as a redevelopment opportunity by the Historic East Piqua Community Center Campus Plan, which was recently completed as part of a feasibility study done by the city, the school district, Edison State Community College, the Ohio National Guard, and the Miami County YMCA. According to the staff report, purchasing the Roosevelt Field House will advance the redevelopment goal for this property.
The cost of the purchase is not to exceed $280,000. That money will not be long gone, though.
The commission also approved selling the Roosevelt Field House and adjacent property to the Piqua Improvement Corporation, a nonprofit, for that same cost of $280,000. The commission also approved selling another property adjacent to those to the Piqua Improvement Corporation at a cost of $2,400.
The Piqua Improvement Corporation would maintain the land and use it to support future economic development of the campus plan. The goal is for the Piqua Improvement Corporation to work with St. Mary’s Development and the Miller Valentine Group to redevelopment that site for a senior housing product as the kick-off to the city’s campus plan. The property would feature approximately 49 apartments for seniors with a community area on the first floor.
Josh Hughes of the Miller Valentine Group said that they are applying for federal funding to use on building the site. Once they are awarded funds, construction is expected to begin in 2018 and finish in the second quarter of 2019.
The city is also assuming the redevelopment of the Piqua Branch of the Miami County YMCA will take place at this site. They are also expecting one to two medical facilities to also be a part of the campus plan.
Also on the agenda, the commission accepted land donated to the city for the expansion and improvements of the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The donated land will be 8.7 acres located to the east of the plant, which will be where the liquid treatment systems will be constructed.
The commission approved imposing a “modest fee increase” at Echo Hills Golf Course. Fees have not been increased there since 2009. Commissioner Joe Wilson noted that many of the increases were only that of $1.
The commission will also approved the following purchases and contracts:
•A contract to Piqua Materials, Inc. for the removal of 40,000 tons of lime on donated property for the Wastewater Treatment Plant at a cost of $140,000
•The purchase of automated algae testing equipment from Abraxis, Inc. at a cost not to exceed $32,000
•The purchase of a new pump for the Ziegler Road Booster Pump Station from Pump Systems LLC at a cost not to exceed approximately $18,577
•The installation of a new pump for the Ziegler Road Booster Pump Station to be done by Regal Plumbing and Heating Company for a cost not to exceed $9,614
•The purchase of two Ford police interceptor utility vehicle and two Ford police interceptor sedans from Lebanon Ford at a total cost of approximately $127,889
•The purchase and installation of specialized equipment in police vehicles from KE Rose Company at a cost not to exceed approximately $28,517
The commission tabled a purchase of lawn mowers from John Deere Company for the Public Works Department at a total cost not to exceed approximately $70,964 to be discussed at their next meeting. The resolution was tabled due to a question of how much the lawn mowers cost individually versus as a whole.
The commission also made numerous appointments to city boards during their meeting.
Melanie Yingst contributed to this story. Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336.