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Boston, Peninsula officials discuss tax collection collaboration

1/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Peninsula Village is interested in becoming Boston Township’s partner in its proposed economic activity district (EAD).

Peninsula Mayor Doug Mayer and Councilwoman Dee Holody, who attended the Boston Township Board of Trustees meeting Jan. 23, said they thought Council members would favor “hosting” the township’s EAD. Boston, for the past year, has been working toward forming an EAD that would allow it to capture a portion of income taxes paid by employees of businesses within the township. However, townships are prohibited from collecting income taxes, necessitating a “hosting” partner with income tax collecting authority.

The partnership would mean additional tax revenue for both entities. The village and the township would have to agree on a percentage split of the taxes collected.

However, Trustee Amy Anderson said Village of Boston Heights officials also have indicated they would be willing to partner with the township. Boston Heights has authority to collect up to 2 percent in income taxes while Peninsula could only collect 1 percent, she said.

Peninsula Village voters have three times rejected a 2 percent income tax, said Holody. Mayer and Holody said they did not know if Council would put the issue back on the ballot anytime soon.

“The 1 percent is a concern to us,” said Trustee Gerald Ritch. “We’d like to be at 2 [percent].”

The difference is “substantial,” Ritch added.

Trustees said they thought a partnership with the village was the “natural” choice. However, Anderson said she wasn’t sure it was the most fiscally responsible choice, since partnering with Boston Heights would allow the township to double its collections.

Trustees estimated that collection of a 2 percent income tax on employees within the EAD would yield around $110,000 per year. That amount would be split in an agreed-upon percentage between the township and its hosting partner.

Businesses within the proposed EAD are largely nonprofit entities. They include Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Boston Mills Ski Resort, the Summit County road maintenance garage and Camp Manatoc, trustees said.

Mayer said he was disappointed the proposal for a 2 percent income tax was rejected by voters in November. Although the village has been managing, he said Council members sometimes joke the village is “one furnace [replacement] away from being broke.”

Village finances took a hit when former Police Chief James McCue was awarded $120,000 and funding of his pension through June 2014. McCue sued the village, former Mayor Richard Fisher and Councilman Dan Schneider following his dismissal in 2010. [See related story below left.]

In other business, trustees:

• agreed to seek estimates on the cost of clearing property owned by Bobby Pruitt and Lura Jean Brown. Pruitt appears to be stalled in his efforts to bring the property into compliance with zoning regulations, according to board members. The cost of any cleanup would be assessed to the property owners through their tax duplicates, trustees added;

• certified road mileage; and

• noted they have received from the Summit County Engineer’s Office a response to their request for a plan for signage to properly terminate Stanford Road, which was vacated earlier this year.

The next regular Boston Board of Trustees meeting will be Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the administrative offices at Boston Township Hall, located at the corner of Main Street and Riverview Road in Peninsula.

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