By TIMOTHY COX
ST. MARYS — The people have spoken — actually driven
— and now city officials have decided to raise the speed
limit along a portion of Celina Road on the west edge of town.
City council members unanimously voted Monday to boost the speed
limit from 25 mph to 35 mph on Celina Road (Ohio 703) between
Ohio 364 and Concord Ave.
The reason for the change was fairly simply, said Ron Ginter,
who chairs council’s traffic committee.
“We couldn’t find anyone who would go 25,”
Safety-Service Director Mike Weadock said speed studies done
in an unmarked police cruiser showed about 90 percent of drivers
exceeded the posted 25 mph limit. About 80 percent drove the
stretch at about 35 mph, the new legal speed.
Officials say they are not worried the higher speed will impede
safety. Some street improvements done within the last few years
make it safer to drive a bit faster, they said. A portion of
Celina Road was widened, an intersection was reconfigured and
left turning lanes were added as part of the Ohio Department
of Transportation-assisted project.
Also at the Monday council meeting, Law Director Kraig Noble
told council members they will have to seek a ballot issue if
they want to continue taxing corporate profits of subchapter
S-corporations under the Internal Revenue Service’s code.
A change in state law makes S-corporations exempt from municipal
income taxes unless the voters approve a ballot issue to continue
to tax them.
City officials obviously support passage of such an issue because
it would keep tax revenue intact. Passage of such an issue and
collection of the taxes would be consistent with current city
income tax practices, Noble said. No business entity should
avoid municipal income tax simply because of its corporate structure,
S-corporations are mostly small businesses and partnerships.
S-corporations pay no federal taxes at the corporate level;
instead, each shareholder or business partner is taxed individually
on their profits and dividend payments.
In other business, council members:
• Passed first reading of an ordinance amending the city
income tax code to reflect changes in state law.
• Passed first reading of an ordinance to rezone 16.308
acres of land in the Rolling Hills subdivision. Much of the
change involves rezoning 15.884 acres from residential-planned
unit development to R-3, high density residential. The developers
requested the change because they did not meet the minimum land
requirements for a planned unit development. The rest of the
rezoning switches a 0.424-acre parcel to C-2 commercial, although
almost all of that area lies under a retaining pond. Weadock
said that part of the rezoning was done to square off lines
on the zoning map.
• Passed an emergency ordinance authorizing special property
tax assessments for the repair of curbs, gutters, sidewalks
and driveway approaches that were part of the 2003 street program.
There are about $87,799 in assessments that must be paid by
residents or placed on their property tax duplicates.