Liverpool gets pitch from tax agency

EAST LIVERPOOL — A representative from Regional Income Tax Agency assured attendees at Monday’s city council meeting that they expected they could save East Liverpool six figures if they took over their tax collections.

Matthew Mau, who works as a government liaison, addressed council for 20 minutes near the beginning of their regular meeting and outlined the benefits of signing with the agency.

Lisbon, which recently said no to contracting with them, and East Liverpool are the only holdouts in Columbiana County, electing to do their own tax collections.

The Regional Council of Governments created the agency in 1971 and it represents more than 300 municipalities and 64 counties in Ohio, each which has a representative on the board no matter their size.

Mau said that the premises behind the creation of RITA was simple, to share the cost among the many communities in their individual tax collection efforts.

He expected the city would save around $100,000 by outsourcing their tax collection efforts to them, which would amount to a cost ranging between $95,000 and $105,000, or a little more than 3 percent of the taxes collected.

He also touted the increased services offered by the agency, which is a full tax service with its own legal, IT and help teams among other specialized departments and their partnership with software companies, such as H.R. Block and Intuit can use electronic filing for its clients’ local taxes.

Mau shared that he thought the ease of the online options could be an attractive option for residents.

The agency potentially can also increase city collections, he deduced. RITA has access to federal income tax returns that are not usually accessible by municipalities populated by less than 500,000. Because of the size of their clients’ population base, they qualify for that access.

There would be extra charges levied if RITA would have to pursue legal action on behalf of the city, Mau explained before urging officials to call communities like Columbiana and Wellsville that have had good experiences with their agency.

Councilman Fred Rayl, who chairs the Finance Committee, informed representatives that after discussing it with his fellow councilmembers, it is possible that they would be back before his committee for a longer presentation if they have interest.

In other action, Councilman Ernest Peachey announced that he also will be overseeing cleanup activities at Fulmer Park from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, which is the day of the next community cleanup.

Both Council President John Torma and Councilman Scott Barrett commended the recently completed lighting work on the Cloverleaf.

Bricker explained that Boy Scout Troop 2012 also will be assisting Kade Karnash with his Eagle Scout project at an east end Community Garden.

Karnash already has raised $1,200 for the project through his GoFundMe page and received in-kind donations from area businesses. He hopes to cleanup the garden, install planter boxes, rain barrels and compost areas at the site.

Cleanup volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. July 18 at the garden.

Mayor Bricker also announced that $18,000 has been raised for the Potters’ Progress fund, and letters have been sent out to various charitable foundations.

Council members entered executive session to discuss pending litigation, and it is unknown if further action was taken.


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