Council Opposes State Control Of Municipal Tax Collection

Council President, Mary Louise Madigan, called the October 3, 2011 Council Meeting to order at 7:32 P.M. She then recognized the presence of former Lakewood Councilwoman and current Sate Representative Nickie Antonio, who was in the audience.

The first agenda item discussed was a resolution presented by Mayor Mike Summers, Councilwoman Madigan (Ward IV) and Councilman Brian Powers (At-Large) opposing the State of Ohio seeking to take control of Municipal Tax Collection. Councilman Powers stated that Governor John Kasich has indicated interest in, and possible intent to centralize all municipal tax collection throughout Ohio within the State Department of Taxation. Powers, along with the Mayor and Madigan, believe that if the state were to do this it would have devastating effects on Lakewood’s ability to function financially. The resolution cites several issues and concerns with the idea of centralized tax collection. One of the main issues is how the state will effectively track down delinquent tax payers for each municipality. Lakewood has a pretty good system for doing this which is fairly successful. The City is also worried about how often the revenues would be distributed to cities and what impact that would have on their ability to function. There is also local customer service and ease of filing locally to be considered.

State Representative Nickie Antonio was recognized by Council to speak on this issue. She stated that it was important for municipalities like Lakewood to show their opposition to this move by that state and applauded the Council for taking this step. She also said she would take the resolution to Columbus and support it, and try to encourage as many of her colleagues as possible to support it as well. She continued, saying that she is very concerned with whether Lakewood’s tax dollars will stay in Lakewood.

Council passed the resolution and will be submitting a copy to the Governor's office and the State Legislature.

The next item was deferred from a previous meeting. Fire Chief Gilman asked Council to pass a resolution thanking businesses and individuals for their donations of goods, time and services towards the creation of the new Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial. He said it was a collaborative effort and could not have been done without their generosity.

The Council passed the resolution, then recognized Tighes Insurance Agency, Gene Dingess Trucking, NYNJ Port Authority, Design Surfaces, ADA Architects, West Side Auto Paint, Hungry Howie’s Pizza, Donato’s Pizza and Caribou Coffee.

The Director of Planning and Development, Dru Siley then asked Council to consider the recommendations of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC is given the task every year of making recommendations to the Council regarding how the City should spend its CDBG and ESG grant funds from HUD. As HUD does not issue estimates of the amounts of the awards to be received by the City, they have to estimate it themselves. Next year the City is estimating that it will receive $1.9 million dollars for the CDBG fund, which is down almost $4 million from this year.

One of the CAC’s Co-Chairs, Jennifer Overstreet, was present to make a few statements about their recommendations and the process they use. She stated that although the Committee of course wish they had more, after much deliberation they had come up with the numbers being presented to Council.

Council referred the Committee's recommendations to the Finance Committee for further discussion.

The last item on the agenda was an ordinance Law Director Kevin Butler asked Council to pass. Director Butler stated that in recent months, Council has passed ordinances that update some of the older ordinances regarding alcohol on public property. These new ordinances allow the restricted use of alcohol on public property when the City gives permitted use for a special event. The updates eliminated two criminal offenses from such permitted special events. This new ordinance includes two more criminal offenses that needed to be updated for the same reason.

Council placed the ordinance on first reading and referred it to the Rules and Ordinances Committee.

Coming to the end of a short agenda, as there was no-one from the public signed up to speak, Council President Madigan adjourned the meeting at 8:11 P.M.

Council meetings are held every first and third Monday of the month at 7:30 P.M. in the City Hall Auditorium. The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be held on November 7, 2011. For a copy of the agenda or for any other information regarding the Lakewood City Council, you can find it at onelakewood.com/citygovern_council.html.

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Volume 7, Issue 21, Posted 7:12 PM, 10.19.2011