WELLSVILLE - Changes to the village tax code were the main order of business during a special meeting of Wellsville Village Council on Friday morning. "It was just a couple of things that we felt needed addressed," said councilwoman Diane Dinch, who is chairwoman of the village finance committee.
The ordinance, which was adopted unanimously, takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Dinch said the village's one-percent income tax currently imposes a fee of $25 on individuals whose payments do not meet their tax estimates filed with the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA), no matter the size of the amount owed. The new ordinance only levies a penalty against individuals whose payments are more than $100 under their taxable estimate to RITA. Dinch says it will mainly affect residents who aren't having their tax withheld by a regular employer or who work outside of the village.
Another change creates provision for a review board for individuals who wish to appeal their tax cases. Rather than establishing a standing board of regular appointees, it will only be assembled individually on a case-by-case basis. "There's no sense of establishing a board that may never, ever meet," Dinch said. Such boards will include three people: One chosen by the mayor, one chosen by the village fiscal officer, both from within the village, and a third to be agreed upon by the chosen pair, with no residency requirement.
The ordinance also requires the owners of lease or rental properties in Wellsville, either residential or commercial, to provide the village with a semiannual list of the names and addresses of all occupants who have either moved into or vacated their properties during that half-year period. The reports will be due to the fiscal office by Jan. 31 and July 31, and failure to comply will result in a fine up to $100.
The next ordinance, also unanimously approved, will transfer $60,000 from the village general fund to the sewage disposal fund. Councilwoman Diane Dinch moved to have the measure placed on third and final reading, and to adopt. It was unanimously approved.
Dinch says this fund transfer reflected the deficit that the sewage fund has operated under, resulting in the village falling behind in its payments to United Water, which operates the village sewage treatment plant. The recently-passed sewerage rate increase was implemented to fix this situation moving ahead. "Hopefully, the changes we made will keep generating enough money so we can stay on track with paying them and our loans," she said.
Councilman Tony Cataldo asked fiscal officer Dale Davis about the time frame for refunding the $60,000 back into the general fund. Davis said no time period is specified in the ordinance, other than, "when funds become available."
"So this could take five years, ten years?" Cataldo asked. Davis replied yes, saying that attempting to predict the village's revenues over the next several years is impossible. Dinch added that proper fiscal responsibility could make it possible to complete the repayment in a more timely manner.
Another ordinance unanimously approved provides for the codifying and compiling of all previous village ordinances that have been passed by council from January 2005 through June of 2012, including revisions and amendments. That period of seven and a half years without official addition of passed ordinances to the village code raised eyebrows amongst members of council. "Yeah, it hasn't been done since before I came here," Davis said.
Council also passed a pair of ordinances to address expenses for the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. The first covers appropriations for expenditures through Dec. 31, 2012. The second ordinance accounts for temporary appropriations through Dec. 31, 2013, though Davis said its intent is for expenditures at the beginning of the year, before sufficient fees and revenues are collected. Both ordinances were adopted with unanimous votes.
The legislation approved at the meeting could not be addressed during the regular council meeting on Tuesday evening due to a lack of sufficient personnel to carry out the vote. Councilwoman Tonda Ross, who was absent from the Tuesday meeting due to illness, was not present Friday morning either, and was excused. Councilman Don Brown, who was also absent on Tuesday, was present Friday morning, allowing council to proceed with the delayed agenda.