Finance committee to look at outside tax collections

As city leaders continue to seek more efficient ways to operate, Bellefontaine’s administration wants the Bellefontaine City Council’s Finance Committee to look at using an outside firm to collect its income tax.

“It merits exploring the option,” Service-Safety Director James Holycross said, “but we need to do it quick.”

Current Tax Superintendent Beth Christian is due to retire in January so the time to switch over is good.

However, the city needs time to fill her position if the committee decides against using the Regional Income Tax Agency.

RITA serves about 240 communities and would provide the city with more resources in collection.

Mr. Holycross and Mayor Adam Brannon visited the company to learn more. They report RITA could provide electronic filing services and has access to state and federal databases for tracking wayward taxpayers.

They believe it could save the city money in manpower and technology costs and bring in more revenue while making it more efficient to file and pay for companies and residents.

RITA’s clients include villages as small as Quincy and Belle Center, along with cities as large as Upper Arlington and New Albany.

Mayor Brannon said he has heard nothing but good reviews of RITA.

Committee Chairwoman Deb Baker said, “I think we should look at it,” and committee members Pete DeSomma and Dave Haw concurred.

Fire Chief Andy Fissel updated the committee on a proposed truck purchase for the department.

He has lined up a one-ton, four-wheel drive crew cab Chevrolet pickup that can be purchased through Steve Austin’s Auto Group for a three-year lease to own. The cost would be more than $10,800 each year plus another $5,700 this year for lights and radio equipment.

It would replace a Ford Explorer which would be transferred to the Bellefontaine Police Department for use as a D.A.R.E. vehicle.

Chief Fissel said the new truck would better serve the department’s needs for responding to calls and for hauling trailers.

During regular action, the council approved first readings of an easement ordinance to permit Bellefontaine City Schools to build a multi-use athletic building, a small part of which will be on Blue Jacket Park land; and an appropriation ordinance for $6,000 in donations for the Myeerah Recreational Area.

They also finalized ordinances to hire full-time summer help for the Street Department and a full-time code enforcement officer.

City Treasurer Mark Fissel gave a report on the city’s accounts. He was able to spread $1.25 million in city funds across five variable length deposits with Huntington Bank to net an overall 1.18 percent interest rate.

The money had been earning 0.35 percent and was due to drop to 0.28 percent.

The improved interest rate will bring in $14,750 annually, about four times more than the current rate.


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