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12-10-02: 16-year-olds will pay tax in Celina
Credit stays for those working outside city

The Daily Standard
    Celina City Council had its longest and most attended meeting of the year Monday night, as residents filled the municipal courtroom to complain of income tax changes and a planned apartment for mentally handicapped residents.
    In the end, council members quietly lowered the required income tax filing age from 18 to 16 and left the out-of-city tax credit alone.
    One by one, taxpayers told council that it would be unfair to remove the tax credit given to Celina residents who work and pay taxes in another municipality. A council committee recommended last week the credit be removed, requiring Celina residents to pay Celina income tax regardless of where they work.
    The credit change, city officials estimated, would affect 38 percent of the taxpaying population and raise $400,000 annually for the general fund.
    Jim Moran, who lives in Celina and works in New Bremen, said it appears the council would be making a short-term budget fix unjustly on the backs of those who must work out of town.
    "Some of us it affected somewhat significantly," he said. "Maybe we should talk about raising taxes (for everyone)."
    Carol Jefferies, who works in Fort Loramie, said the council is trying to "slip this under the rug" by bringing it up at the third reading of an emergency ordinance.
    "I just feel that it's a select group of people that have been singled out," she said.
    Council members defended the need for more revenue, stating that infrastructure around the city has sat dormant for years, with upgrades sitting on the back burner. And, a member noted that council has not raised taxes in 21 years.
    After the hour-long discussion, councilors decided to keep the current tax credit. Only councilors Collin Bryan and Bob Nuding voted to remove the tax credit.
    All councilors except Bryan, Ron Hammons and Angie King voted to approve the emergency tax ordinance that would lower the filing age to 16 and make several other minor wording changes, in response to new state law.
    Because the emergency ordinance didn't get 75 percent of the vote, it is no longer an emergency and goes into effect in 30 days.
    Before the tax debate began, residents also complained of Mercer Residential Service's plans to construct a duplex apartment on Greenview Drive.
    The area is in an R-2 residential district where duplexes are allowed. The project entails constructing an apartment with grant money from the Ohio Department of Mental Health where a qualified family can live.
    Resident Shirley Hoffman told the council a building/zoning permit should have not been issued because there will be supervised living at the home, which puts it into a classification of a group home, requiring a conditional permit.
    Celina Safety-Service Director Mike Sovinski said the apartment will not be a group home, and the resident will not be supervised.
    Karen Seibert of the Celina engineering department said no permits have been issued, but she is aware of Mercer Residential Services plan for the duplex.
    Sovinski told the group of complaining citizens that building permit appeals need to be made before the board of zoning appeals. He added that the board cannot discriminate based on who the residents are to be.
    Garry Mosier, executive director of Mercer Residential Services Inc., confirmed this morning in a news release that the duplex is planned to be constructed with grant money.
    "We regret that some people feel anxious when these units are built in their neighborhood. People with mental health issues are often discriminated against due to the stigma attached to mental illness," Mosier said. "We hope that the people who are concerned about these projects take the time to learn about mental illness and help eliminate the stigma."


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
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The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822