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Norton City Council follows up on HB 5 opposition

6/6/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Norton city officials are continuing to correspond with state officials regarding their opposition to House Bill (HB) 5.

A poll of City Council members indicated none of its present members would support the bill even if the state restored local government funding to 2008 revenue levels, according to email correspondence between Council President Don Nicolard (Ward 2) and state Rep. Peter Beck (R-District 54). An email regarding HB 5 from Nicolard sent May 22 was read aloud by Council Clerk Karla Richards during Council’s May 28 meeting.

State Rep. Marilyn Slaby (R-District 38) and state Sen. Frank LaRose (R-District 27) were copied on the email, according to Richards.

Council adopted a resolution of opposition to HB 5 May 7 asking the Ohio General Assembly to consider the impact on the city of Norton in regards to income taxes imposed by municipal corporations. The next day, Nicolard testified on the topic before the Ways and Means Committee in Columbus, he said.

Nicolard’s email to Beck, who sits on that committee, indicated that Beck asked him while he was in Columbus what effect HB 5 was expected to have on Norton’s finances.

Estimates are for a one-time loss of nearly $200,000, with an annual impact of approximately $25,000 to the city, according to city officials.

“We have already suffered a lost revenue of over $270,000 from the cuts in local government funds in 2012 as compared to 2008. In addition, we could potentially lose $125,000 annually with the passage of House Bill 7,” his email stated.

During a special meeting May 20, Council also passed a resolution opposing Sub. HB 7 regarding the regulation of Internet cafés.

Also during the May 28 meeting, Council heard a first reading of legislation that would allow rezoning of property at 3888 Long Drive from an R-1 (Single-Family Residential) district to an R-5 (Multi-Family Residential) district. A public hearing on the change is scheduled for June 10 at 7:15 p.m.

Another piece of new legislation would authorize Administrative Officer Rick Ryland to advertise for the sale of two 5-ton trucks no longer needed by the Service Department, a 1999 International and a 1992 GMC Topkick. Following a first reading of the proposed ordinance, Councilwoman Charlotte Whipkey (at large) added the money from the sale of the vehicles will go to the Service Department Fund.

Council also held an executive session to discuss a personnel matter, with no action taken.

Council next will meet June 10 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Safety-Administration Building, 4060 Columbia Woods Drive.

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