City Council approves tax code updates

By David J. Coehrs -

Wauseon City Council approved a language update to the city’s tax code during a brief meeting held Monday.

Council members voted to adopt the city Finance Committee’s recommendation to add language to the tax code to align with the state’s tax code. New language in the tax code will clarify the city’s definition of its employees’ pension and retirement benefit plan; officially add the city’s practice of charging a non-sufficient check fee; stipulate that the city’s income tax credit is awarded only to residents working within other state municipalities, not to residents working out-of-state; and allow for city income tax revenue to be placed into the general fund, with surplus placed into the capital fund.

At an Oct. 27 Finance Committee meeting, City Finance Director Jamie Giguere explained that enacting the general fund revision would eliminate a legal process now necessary to transfer revenue from the city’s capital fund to its general fund.

At that meeting Giguere also explained the cost if a 1% wage increase were to be offered to city employees.

In department reports:

• Police Chief Kevin Chittenden said the department has advertised for test applicants to replace a full-time dispatcher who quit for another position. The test will be held Nov. 14 at 9 a.m.; applications are due by Nov. 12 at 4 p.m.

Chittenden said first and second shift officers viewed a 20-minute video update on election rules provided by the state attorney general’s office to be prepared for Tuesday’s voting.

• Public Service Director Keith Torbet said city leaf pick-up began Monday and will continue into a portion of December. He said brush pick-up will continue until the beginning of 2021.

Torbet said city chemical bids will open in two weeks.

• Finance Director Jamie Giguere said city income tax revenue was down 6.45% for October, an improvement from a 7% downturn in September. “Hopefully, those revenues continue to come in and we can see some more improvement,” she said.

Law Director Tom McWatters III took a moment to congratulate the Wauseon High School boys and girls cross country teams for qualifying for state competitions. Mayor Kathy Huner added, “I think that’s amazing…I’m excited for them.”

Council members approved emergency passage for an ordinance to amend Section 191 of the city’s codified ordinances and for a resolution authorizing the mayor to pursue a proposed EMS and fire district for funding purposes.

Council approved Councilor Shane Chamberlin’s request for an executive session to discuss a public employee, which specified attendance only by Council members. Chamberlin’s request recognized that Mayor Kathy Huner, Law Director Tom McWatters III, Public Service Director Keith Torbet, and a city Human Resources representative were denied requests to attend. No explanation was given.

By David J. Coehrs

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.