Athens City Council may be writing a resolution to Gov. John Kasich after he suggested the state impose fees for services the city said it doesn’t need.
According to an email from the Ohio Municipal League, one section of Kasich's budget proposal, which was introduced Jan. 30, would require that all municipal businesses file their taxes through the state rather than municipalities. At their Monday night meeting, council members said they opposed the recommendation.
The state would charge a 1 percent “administrative services fee” and businesses would pay less in taxes. However, municipalities would lose tax income fees from local businesses.
Athens City Auditor Kathy Hecht said the new system could come at a heavy cost for the city.
“We stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars if we don’t have them audited locally," Hecht said.
Councilman Jeff Risner, D-2nd Ward, said the imposed service was “idiotic.”
“The state is imposing a service on the city that we don’t want and we don’t need, and they charge us at the same time,” Risner said. “I want to be clear about how idiotic that is.”
Hecht said the service was meant to promote business, but would reduce income for small cities like Athens.
“The idea is to promote a business-friendly tax program,” she said. “We aren’t opposed to that, but it’s not going to help them as much as they think it is, and it’s certainly going to hurt municipalities.”
Knisely suggested council members take action by writing a resolution to Kasich.
“The Municipal League and the auditor are both recommending that the council consider a resolution to write to the state to let Gov. Kasich know that this isn’t something that would be helpful to the city,” she said.
The city also introduced several ordinances Monday night, including measures that would temporarily close streets for the International Street Festival and the Cruise-In, renew a contract with a parking company, and amend the 2017 appropriations ordinance.