Mayor leaves behind ‘legendary’ memory

Commission approves changes to tax code

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — In one final thank you to outgoing Mayor Lucy Fess, she was honored during a special presentation during Tuesday evening’s Piqua City Commission meeting. It was Fess’s final meeting while in office.

Commissioner Bill Vogt presented Fess with a collage of her career.

“Lucinda L. Fess has served the city of Piqua during her entire career,” Vogt said, calling Fess’s commitment to Piqua “legendary.”

“Lucy served as the executive director of the American Red Cross, Director of Community affairs for the Upper Valley Medical Center, director of the Economic Development Department for the city of Piqua, and she’s a licensed insurance agent,” Vogt said. “She has served as a board member for the Piqua Improvement Incorporation, Forest Hill Cemetery, Grow Piqua Now, and other important organizations.”

Fess has also received numerous awards and honors in Piqua, including the Order of George award.

“Most importantly, she served as Piqua City Commissioner for 12 years and mayor of the city of Piqua for 10 of those years,” Vogt said. “During that time period, the city of Piqua made great improvements and investments to the downtown, parks, transportations, and utilities. Major capital projects were completed or initiated during her tenure.”

After going over some of the honors and recognition that Piqua has received during Fess’s time as a leader in the community, Vogt then thanked Fess for her contributions to the city.

“For the many of the years of service to the city of Piqua and the Piqua community, the city of Piqua and city commission employees salute you for (your) commitment and service to this community and it … is forever indebted to you,” Vogt said.

To Fess, Vogt added, “And Lucy, we’re going to miss you.”

“I’m going to miss you all, too,” Fess said.

Returning to old business, the commission heard the second and third readings of ordinances that update their municipal income tax code during their meeting Tuesday evening.

“With the passage of House Bill 5 by the state legislature in Dec. of 2014 and the required creation of a new income tax Chapter 38, we’re here to update the current ordinance with some housekeeping items to keep in conformity with the new tax code, which all begins on Jan. 1, 2016,” finance director Cynthia Holtzapple said.

The final reading for the ordinance adopting Chapter 38 to the city’s income tax code was waived during the meeting.

The major change in Chapter 38 is the addition of a net operating loss carryforward. According to Holtzapple, the city currently does not have a net operating loss carryforward. The tax reform within 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. Other changes to the income tax code include the casual entrant rule going from 12 to 20 days, penalty and interest charges are uniform, and the minimum collection/refund amount going from $5 to $10, according to Holtzapple.

The commission approved both of those ordinances.

The commission then heard the third readings and voted on five more ordinances, beginning with approving two ordinances that will adopt new pay schedules. The first is in regard to non-union employees.

“The passage of this ordinance will increase those wages by 2 percent beginning in January,” human resources director Elaine Barton said. “The union agreement also includes a 2 percent increase beginning in January.”

The second ordinance discusses the wages of the city’s part-time workers, including lifeguards at the Piqua pool and employees at Echo Hills Golf Course.

“Over the years, the differential between lifeguards A, B, and C has eroded,” Barton said. “The passage of this ordinance re-establishes those differentials. With the differentials in place, we hope to be able to recruit and retain lifeguards for the swimming pool.”

The next ordinance that the commission approved updating the city’s employees’ health insurance to reflect the new insurance benefit year. Following that ordinance, the commission approved the 2016 Annual Budget, as well as 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.

NOTE: This is part one in a two-part series covering the Tuesday, Dec. 15, Piqua City Commission meeting. Part two will be in the Friday edition of the Piqua Daily Call.

Commission approves changes to tax code

By Sam Wildow

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall