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Tullis warns Salem council state bill could cost city $300K

November 24, 2012
Morning Journal News

SALEM - City Treasurer Bob Tullis warned council members about tax uniformity legislation at the state level which could have an effect on the city coffers if approved as written.

Tullis said he didn't want to appear like "chicken little" on the tax uniformity issue, but he didn't want the chance of something big happening and them not knowing that something could happen.

He's raised the issue before about municipal tax reform being touted at the state level, saying it's resurfaced and appears to be on a fast track. He estimated the changes, as written, could cost the city nearly $300,000 in income tax revenue.

Known as H.B. 601, the legislation is opposed by the Ohio Municipal League. According to an Ohio Municipal League press release issued Oct. 30, the proposed legislation would be "forcing an unfunded mandate on over 200 municipalities requiring them to administer a 5-year net operating loss carry-forward policy for individuals and business filers, changing the rules for determining and enforcing residency requirements, severely restricting the ability of municipalities' enforcement efforts..." and etc.

Tullis explained that the city does not currently allow a loss to be carried over more than one year. He also said another part of the legislation would increase the office's cost for postage.

He said he's not necessarily against uniformity but "we just don't want it to have an adverse affect on the income of the city."

As for this year's city income tax collection, he said the receipts recently surpassed the $4 million mark, putting the city in a good position financially.

In other business, a resident who reported that her and her husband's personal information was released on a police report earlier this year addressed council. She said she's been trying to get in touch with city Law Director Brooke Zellers to resolve the issue and hasn't heard back from him.

She had appeared at a council meeting in July for guidance on the problem, noting that the attorney she had hired to communicate with Zellers was no longer her attorney. At that time, Zellers told her she could communicate with him directly regarding a proposal, but she said she's tried calling him and emailing him to no avail. The last email was sent Oct. 9.

Council President Mickey Cope Weaver said she would pass along her concern to Zellers, noting he's typically at the council meetings, but didn't attend Tuesday's meeting.

In other business, Councilman Clyde Brown questioned city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst regarding setting up a meeting to discuss the situation with a local scrap yard that had violated an ordinance, saying he had not heard anything since July. Kenst said the last meeting was held in October with Zellers and the mayor, but there had been no update.

Weaver suggested that Brown could always go to Kenst's office with his inquiries.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at



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