- My Miami County
By CECILIA FOX
Record Herald Writer
Courtesy of the Record Herald; Printed 1.25.13
TIPP CITY – Despite a projected deficit, Tipp City ended in the black in 2012.
Before the meeting Tuesday night, council discussed the 2012 year-end financial report with Finance Director John Green who said that all of the city’s major funds — the general fund, and the water, sewer, and electric funds — ended the year in better shape than anticipated.
He said that general fund receipts were $372,758 more than budgeted, while expenditures were $404,120 under budget. Originally the 2012 budget projected a $123,747 deficit in the general fund, but thanks to higher than expected income tax and estate tax receipts as well as lower expenditures, the general fund ended the year with a surplus of approximately $485,000.
The end of the year general fund cash balance is about $4,533,335. According to Green, the general fund ending cash balance has gone up “pretty significantly” over the last 10 years.
“This is one of the reasons why, when we bring the budget to you, we’re not as concerned about the
projected deficits,” Green explained.
Significant cost savings were also due to the deferral of several capital improvement projects until 2013. The electric, water and sewer funds all ended the year with higher than anticipated receipts and lower than expected expenditures.
During the meeting council heard the first reading of an ordinance that will update and codify the city’s tax regulations. The ordinance was tabled in December and delayed again at the last study session to allow city staff to answer questions raised by Councilman Joe Gibson.
Finance Director Green reviewed Gibson’s memo and responded to his questions. Most of Gibson’s questions were just about clarifying terms and language used. He also wanted to know if the code would allow for joint and several liability when it comes to corporations or partners.
Green said it does and court action will be in the name of the corporation or partnership, not the individuals. There’s no formula for dividing tax liability between partners or shareholders in a company. Gibson also asked why administrative subpoenas would be employed in failure to file cases but not failure to pay cases.
Green explained that the point of an administrative subpoena is to get people into the office to prepare a tax return, which may indicate whether or not there is a balance due to the city. In cases of failure to pay, the city has already received a tax return, so there’s no need to bring those people in.
During the pre-meeting study session, Council agreed to place the ordinance on the agenda that same evening without emergency language. The second reading of the ordinance will take place at the next meeting.
“I’m glad to put it on the agenda tonight first reading, second reading in February and we’re in. That way everybody’s got a chance to look at it,” Gibson said.
The ordinance includes some changes to the regulations, but it also adds the regulations to the City’s Code of Ordinances.
Currently, the code directs residents seeking tax information to a different document. According to a report by the city’s auditing firm Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co., this can create issues because there is no specific code section to cite when court action is necessary.
Some of the changes include correcting some of the language to make the regulations easier to read, increasing the maximum fine for noncompliance from $500 to $1,000, and allowing the city to pass the extra costs of pursuing compliance (collection agency, court fees, and certified letters) on to the delinquent tax filer.
The ordinance must be approved before the city can take any action against delinquent accounts.
Other ordinances for first reading included amendments to the sign and parking codes. The first, an amendment to the sign code, would allow commercial and industrial buildings larger than 150,000 square feet to post as many signs as needed, provided the signs take up no more than 5 percent of the total facade. The current sign code allows for only one sign no larger than 80 square feet, regardless of the size of the building.
Right now, the only facilities this amendment affects are Meijer Distribution Warehouse, Menards and the new Abbott factory. The amendment is being brought to the table now so Abbott can start placing its signs up.
The second ordinance would establish off-street parking requirements for the Fire/EMS Station. This amendment to the parking regulations would require one space per employee on the largest EMS shift and one space per employee based on the average emergency response for volunteer firefighters.