During last Wednesday’s Sunbury Village Council meeting, council members held a first reading of an ordinance regarding municipal income tax, but Sunbury residents need not worry — it’s not a tax increase. Sunbury’s resident income tax will remain at 1 percent.
Village Solicitor David Brehm explained that the existing income tax legislation, Chapter 181, would remain on the books with a new chapter, Chapter 182.
“This legislation is a result of House Bill 5 that requires all cities and villages in Ohio to enact uniformity in their tax code,” Brehm said. “This has to be in force by Jan. 1. The existing Chapter 181 will be the old tax code; Chapter 182 will be the new tax code; both will remain in effect.”
Brehm said the old tax code would remain in effect to deal with pre-Dec. 31, 2015, tax returns and issues.
Council member Len Weatherby said it’s important for Sunbury residents to understand that Chapter 182 of the codified ordinances is just tax code form change.
Brehm agreed, but added that as the village grows into a city, council will have to do a tax assessment to determine if taxes are offsetting the cost of services.
“You will probably need a consultant to come in and do a tax assessment,” Brehm said. “It can become a crisis if you don’t look at it. Up until now the village has operated lean and mean, but as you grow I’m certain you will have an increase in services.”
Sunbury consulting engineer Wes Hall, CT Consultants, said a tax study is important for any municipality facing growth.
“It’s been proven that residential does not pay for itself,” Hall said. “You need to balance that with commercial and industrial taxes, and with NCAs (New Community Authorities) and JEDDs (Joint Economic Development Districts).”
Brehm noted that in the past the village had adopted impact fees to offset the need for additional municipal and police facilities created by growth.
“Impact fees are designed to provide the same basic level of services you had before growth,” Brehm said. “But the village didn’t adopt an impact fee for streets because the need wasn’t there. With the new growth Sunbury is facing, you will need to look at an impact fee for streets.”
In other business, parks committee chair Joe Gochenour said several young folks were at the park committee’s meeting earlier in the evening asking if the village would consider building a skateboard park.
Parks committee member Scott Weatherby said their presentation was impressive.
“They were 8 years old, 10, 12, and they had a prepared statement,” Weatherby said. “They told us they have to go to Delaware or Westerville for a skateboard park. We let them know that we are working on a parks master plan.”
Council member Jennifer Ward said it would be good to get young people involved in the parks master plan process.
“It might help us think about our park planning from their perspective,” Ward said.
Village Administrator Alan Rothermel reminded everyone that the village-owned, former Breece property at 102 Rainbow Ave. would be auctioned off at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.
The minimum bid will be $25,000. Chip Carpenter will be the auctioneer. There will be an open house from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. Carpenter will also show the house by appointment. Interested parties may contact Carpenter at 740-965-1208.
The village of Sunbury’s Fall Fest will be from 4 to 7 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 18, at Freedom Park on State Route 61. This year’s fall fest will have a Renaissance theme and include a costume contest, hayrides and bounce houses.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093