COVINGTON — The Covington Council received an update on the joint litigation they are participating in against the state in regard to the collection of income taxes from businesses through the Ohio Business Gateway during their meeting Monday evening, and so far the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas has not ruled in their favor.
“We’re participating in the House Bill 49 litigation, and a Franklin County court judge came back very quickly and ruled against cities and municipalities,” Village Attorney Frank Patrizio said. “The attorneys involved in the case have appealed the decision.”
The joint litigation challenging the state’s centralization of income tax collection is now moving on to the appellate court. The bill at the center of the controversy allows taxpayers to choose between going to centralized filing through the Ohio Business Gateway or completing it locally for income taxes collected from businesses. It also allows the state to charge cities and municipalities a fee — 0.5 percent of the municipal revenue — as an administrative cost to administer centralized income tax collection.
“The Frank County judge stated that although cities and villages have home rule rights under the constitution, the village gets its rights — and the municipalities get their rights — to collect taxes underneath … the legislator of the state of Ohio, and therefore they have the power to regulate how they’re collected, and that’s what the decision of the Franklin County court judge basically stated,” Patrizio said.
The state can also penalize cities, which was why the village adopted these changes into their income tax code earlier this year. The resolution authorized the state to collect village income taxes from local businesses, while also included language permitting the village to continue its participation in the joint litigation against the state over House Bill 49, according to Village Administrator Mike Busse.
Busse explained that if the council had not authorized that, then the village might not have been able to collect income taxes this year.
“We still feel like that’s better done at the local level,” Busse said about income tax collection.
Also during their meeting, the council approved the purchase of properties located at 184 and 188 N. High St. in Covington. The cost for both of the houses, each of which are duplexes, was $75,000.
A resident asked the purpose of buying those properties. The ultimate goal for the properties has not been decided yet, but Busse said that they currently have no easement on those properties and there is a drainage ditch running through those properties.
“They’re for sale right now. We have some drainage that runs through that property, so it seems to make sense to the council that we purchase those properties since they’re available,” Busse said.
Later in their meeting before voting on the purchase, council member Lois Newman also asked about the village’s plans for those properties. Busse said that the village will continue to rent out the property, as there are currently renters living in the homes.
The village is also continuing its preparation to remove the house they deemed unsafe located at 137 N. High St. in Covington. The council approved a progress payment of approximately $3,428 to Monnin Excavating for the asbestos removal. The Miami County Health Department also received an invoice for the same amount as the county is sharing the cost of the eventual removal of this house.
The council also approved a progress payment to CHCMHill in the amount of approximately $44,586 for renovations at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Electrical work is continuing at the plant, Busse said, and he added that Jutte Excavating will finish the painting of the pipes inside the valve vault and pump pit when the weather is right.
“The pumps have been delivered and will be installed as soon as the painting is completed,” Busse said.
The council also awarded the 2018 sidewalk program contract to M&T Excavating at a cost of approximately $37,600. Busse said that letters will be sent out to affected property owners later this week. The affected properties include a number of addresses mostly on North Main Street between the 200 and 400 blocks of the street.
Mayor Ed McCord updated the council on upcoming dates for village events. The Optimist and Kiwanis clubs’ annual Pancake Day will be Saturday, March 10, at the Covington K-8 cafeteria from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Covington Chief of Police Lee Harmon added that Spaghetti Day will be held at the high school on Wednesday, starting at 4 p.m.
The village will also be holding a document shredding day on Saturday, March 17, at the municipal building from 9-11 a.m. Covington residents are invited to bring any documents they wish to have shredded.
That same day, the village will be hosting an income tax assistance session for residents at the municipal building from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tax assistance will also be provided to village residents on Thursday, April 5, from 1-4 p.m. and Tuesday, April 10, from 6-8 p.m. at the municipal building.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336