HUBER HEIGHTS — An ordinance that would have added a penalty for landlords who fail to report tenants to the city ran into opposition at Monday night’s council meeting and eventually was put off for another day.
The ordinance would allow the city to fine landlords who do not report on tenants moving in and out of their buildings. Accurate reporting helps the city tax department in collection of taxes owed to the city.
Currently, there is no fine for landlords who fail to make the required reports. The ordinance calls for a fine of up to $100 per tenant.
Thirty percent of the city’s residents were reported as tenants in the 2010 census, representing a significant portion of city income tax revenues.
The idea of a fine didn’t sit well with some council members, however.
“While I’m all in favor of reaching out and trying to identify as many taxpayers as possible within the city,” Glenn Otto said, “I just can’t say that I’m a fan of doing it by the threat of a fine to our businesses in the city. And I do see landlords as business owners.”
Andy Hill agreed.
“I don’t know that this necessarily is the answer,” he said. “I would be welcome to talking about this and trying to find something “ but he said he didn’t think he would vote for the fines.
City Law Director Gerald McDonald said the fines were designed as a better way to encourage landlords to do the proper reporting. “Currently if they don’t report it, our only choice is to ignore it or take them to court,” he said.
Mayor Jeff Gore spoke in favor of the ordinance, comparing the ordinance to other laws in society, such as traffic laws, which include penalties when they aren’t followed. Ed Lyons also spoke in favor, calling the current law “a toothless ordinance we’re not enforcing” since the city is unlikely to take landlords to court over the issue.
However, Lyons suggested that the best course of action might be to move the ordinance to a third reading and be able to discuss it further at a work session. The rest of council agreed and the decision was put off until at least the next council meeting.
Also Monday night, city council:
- Approved a rezoning from commercial to planned commercial for 6007 Old Troy Pike. A Casey’s General Store will be built on the property.
- Approved a rezoning from planned public buildings and grounds to residential for a property located at 4370 Powell Road.
- Passed an ordinance that amended the city’s income tax code to meet requirements in Ohio House Bill 49. Huber Heights has joined with other municipalities to challenge the bill in court. The bill would allow businesses to file taxes with the state, which would then impose a fee on the cities for processing the taxes. The ordinance incorporates changes mandated by the state. City Manager Rob Schommer said there is still hope the legal action against the state will be successful but the city needed to be prepared if the legal challenge fails.
- Reappointed Darrell Fisher to the city’s personnel appeals board to a term ending in March of 2021.
- Approved changes to the rules of council for 2018, including items such as lifting the four-hour limit on council work sessions and some other procedural changes. It includes a section on professional decorum and personal comments and some changes in the veto process. The rules passed 6-1 with Janell Smith voting no.
- Passed an ordinance for supplemental appropriations of $73,000 for new dispatch supervisor position; $90,700 for two new firefighter positions for half of 2018; $91,775 for retirement payouts; $7,400 for personnel increases; $20,250 for two outdoor alerting system sirens; and $8,300 for tax office moving expenses and postage. The ordinance passed 5-2 with Otto and Smith voting no.
- Heard Schommer report that the two outdoor alert sirens were installed and likely would be tested on Monday.
- Approved resolutions for the city manager to enter into contracts for phase two of the Chambersburg Road project; the Wildview/Sandalview sanitary sewer project; and for the second phase of the city sanitary survey, to be conducted by RA Consultants.
ouncil’s next meeting will be March 26, 7 p.m. at city hall. The meeting scheduled for March 12 has been canceled. Council has work sessions scheduled for March 6 and March 20 at city hall, 6 p.m.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.
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