Plain City might take tax collection in-house

(Posted March 14, 2019)

By Michael Williamson, Staff Writer

Plain City is looking to change their tax collection system.

At a work session on March 11, council discussed the possibility of changing from the current RITA (Regional Income Tax Agency) system to an in-house collection system. The village looked at two factors: monetary and non-monetary benefits.

“If we were to bring it in-house, strictly from a monetary, budget standpoint, it would still be cheaper at least at the current collection rate of RITA,” said Village Administrator Nathan Cahall. “Communities, by and large, who have separated from RITA do find an uptick in their net collections.”

He added that the non-monetary benefits had mostly to do with the collection being done locally, by people in the community. If the village does take the process in-house, they will need to add the position of tax administrator.

“Having it local provides a little more fairness and equity for our taxpayers,” Cahall said. “We can ensure that everyone is paying their fair share.”

If the village decides to go in this direction, they must give RITA a six-month notice ahead of the split.

Also during the work session, council discussed changes coming to the village if the results of the 2020 Census designate the village a city. If the numbers show a population of 5,000 or more, the status will change. City status would require three new positions: city auditor, city treasurer and city attorney. This could mean a $300,000 increase in staffing costs.

City status also would require the formation of a commission of 15 volunteer residents to explore the need to draft a charter. The body would meet in public and decide whether to create a new charter and, if so, present the recommendation to council.

“At that point in time, council has the opportunity to put that on the ballot and the voters get a second bite at the apple to decide whether or not they want to adopt that charter,” Cahall said. “A charter would be a way for the community to start out with a blank slate and organize new procedures.”

Council plans to have the list of 15 people by the second regular meeting in April.

Other work session action included:

  • A discussion on the changing of concessions at the Plain City Pool. The current vendor has opted not to renew contracts, so village officials are looking at ways to handle concessions for the upcoming season.
  • The bid opening date for the new municipal building has been delayed a week. The village is looking at a possible $100,000 in furnishing costs and $100,000 or less in technology needs on top of the general bid amount.
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