Whitehall residents, businesses to have online tax filing

 Messenger photo by Dianne Garrett

Mark Stewart was presented with a resolution Oct. 2 by Whitehall Council President Brent Howard, recognizing him as outstanding employee of the year of the Service and Street Department.  Stewart, a Whitehall-Yearling High School graduate, is the married father of four children, and has worked for the city since 1998.  Service Director Ray Ogden offered that he appreciates Stewart and his co-workers for all the hard work they do each day throughout the year.

Paying taxes in in Whitehall is getting a little bit easier, at least when it comes to filing.

At the Oct. 2 City Council meeting, Auditor Kim Maggard gave a presentation outlining the benefits of InSource Solutions, new tax software that will enable businesses and individuals to file local income taxes online.

She noted that the technology will reduce cost and hassle of filing for taxpayers, and will eliminate delays and masses of paper.  

All passwords will change each year, and after the online forms are submitted with Social Security numbers, those numbers will automatically be deleted from the system.  All secured data will be stored in Cleveland.  

Reminders will be sent out each year by email.  The auditor’s office will be notified if emails have changed, which will allow them to then send reminders by mail.  

The system will have 24-hour/seven days a week access.  The only requirements for a taxpayer will be to have a working computer and Internet access.  The public libraries also have computers for those who do not have them at home.  

Taxpayers will be able to pay online, and credit cards will be accepted, as well.  The payments made to the city will be direct deposited into the city’s bank account into the general fund.

Maggard said that she estimates a $13,000 savings in postage, with an additional $4,500 savings in printing.  The new system will cost the city $39,000.  The projected recovery for that expense is three to four years, however, Maggard says that if people take advantage of it like she anticipates, the equipment will pay for itself within two years.

The auditor’s staff is beginning the training process.  Non-business taxpayers should be able to begin using the online service by the end of December or early January.  Businesses will be able to utilize the service by the middle of 2008.

In other business City Council passed an ordinance to allow the assistant city attorney to take over when the city attorney cannot perform the job.  

City Attorney Cheryl Nester tendered her resignation, effective Oct. 13.  This ordinance will allow for the assistant, Kevin Shannon, to perform her job in the interim.  

Council President Brent Howard noted that after the November election, the winner of the election will be appointed to the job immediately.  

Dennis Fennessey, who served as city attorney from January, 1992, to December, 1995, and Councilman Mike Shannon, are both vying for the job.  The two Shannons are brothers.

Service and Street Department employee Mark Stewart was recognized as the department’s outstanding employee of the year.  He will receive $250, and was presented a resolution by Howard.  Stewart is a Whitehall Yearling High School graduate, and the married father of four children.

The next council meeting will be Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m.  There will be two public hearings.

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