PIQUA — The city of Piqua is being required by a new state law to update their municipal income tax code. The Piqua City Commission heard two ordinances regarding these changes during their meeting Tuesday evening, including the introduction of the new Chapter 38.
The amount of the city’s income tax is not up for debate. However, as a result of the passing of Substitute House Bill 5 in December 2014, the state is requiring more uniformity among municipalities’ income tax codes as well as the requirement of a net operating loss carryforward.
“The major changes for the city of Piqua are the requirement of a net operating loss carryforward for a period of up to five years,” Cynthia Holtzapple, director of finance, said. “Currently the city does not have a net operating loss carryforward.”
A business experiences a loss when they spend more than they make, such as by making a big equipment purchase or spending more money to operate. The tax reform within Substitute House Bill 5 means that a corporate or an LLC business that experiences a loss one year could spread the amount of that loss over five years so as to reduce or eliminate their taxes during that time span.
The net operating loss carryforward will be phased in effective with taxable years after Jan. 1, 2017.
“In addition, there is also a casual entrants rule, which will currently, if somebody does business in the city for 12 or more days, they are taxed beyond that twelfth day,” Holtzapple said. “That changes from 12 days to 20 days with this new chapter. In addition, interest and penalties charges become uniform for all municipalities according to the tax code.
“And the one change that would affect all individuals, which we see has probably a minimal change, would be that the collection or refund of amounts go from what is currently $5 or less go to $10 or less,” Holtzapple went on. “So that means if a citizen or business owes us $5 currently, or we owe them $5 … that amount goes to $10.”
Those changes are uniform across all municipalities in Ohio. Once the ordinances are approved, the changes will be in effect on Jan. 1. Holtzapple noted that other changes requested by the state are already incorporated into the city’s current legislature.
“If we had a contractor come to town and is working on a building for 15 days, and he leaves and comes back the next week, does he start over again?” Commissioner Bill Vogt asked in regard to the change in the casual entrants rule.
“We do track the amount, and … it’s collectively throughout the year,” Holtzapple said. “It’s on a calendar year basis.” Holtzapple explained that the days do not start over again, but it is the total amount of days a business spends working in Piqua past those 20 days allowed in the casual entrants rule.
The majority of the rest of the commission meeting went over the second readings of ordinances that were introduced at the commission’s last November meeting.
The first two ordinances discussed adopting new pay schedules. The first ordinance was in regard to non-union employees. This ordinance will allow for a 2 percent increase for non-union employees. The city’s union employees are also going to receive a 2 percent increase for 2016.
The second ordinance discussed the wages of the city’s part-time workers, including lifeguards at the Piqua pool and employees at Echo Hills Golf Course. According to Elaine Barton, human resources director, the changes will create more noticable steps between the wages of different levels of seasonal and part-time employees. The changes to their wages are to make the Piqua pool a more competitive employer for part-time workers, allowing the city to recruit and retain more lifeguards in particular.
The next ordinance that the commission heard will update the city’s employees’ health insurance to reflect the new insurance benefit year. Following that ordinance, the commission heard the second reading about the 2016 Annual Budget. The commission then heard the second reading of an ordinance declaring the city’s intent to vacate a public right-of-way at an alley located between Main and Wayne streets as it is not being used for public purposes.
The only resolution on the agenda was a resolution of appreciation for the public service of Michael W. Scherer, a retired water plant operator who worked for the city of 30 years. Scherer was not at the meeting, but Mayor Lucy Fess wished him a happy retirement.
During public comment, Ruth Koon of the Friends of the Piqua Library invited residents to the library’s holiday cabaret happening in the ballroom at the Fort Piqua Plaza on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. The Lima Symphony Orchestra is set to perform. Tickets are available for $30 at Readmore’s Hallmark.
Koon also mentioned other events happening within the city during this holiday season. Those include Edison Community College’s holiday evening on Thursday, Dec. 3; the full sound chamber group performing at St. Paul’s on Dec. 5 at 3:30 p.m.; the Piqua City Band’s Christmas Concert at Westminster Church on Dec. 6 at 3 p.m.; and the Piqua High School Music Department’s Christmas Concert at the Hartzell Center for Performing Arts on Dec. 13 at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
“There’s no reason to go out of Piqua because we’re going to have some wonderful music here,” Koon said.
During the city manager’s report, City Manager Gary Huff noted that the final Piqua City Commission meeting of 2015, happening on Dec. 15, will also be Fess’s final commission as mayor and commissioner. There will be a reception at city hall from 5-7 p.m. before the meeting to commemorate the moment. Fess also mentioned that her first commission meeting serving the city as a commissioner was on Jan. 1, 1992.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall