ROGERS - Village Council is preparing to enact a 1 percent income tax just months after voters approved a new 2-mill operating levy.
The topic came up last week's council meeting, with Village Fiscal Officer Dale Davis saying he needed to know if they want to proceed with inviting a representative from RITA to attend the next meeting on April 9. RITA stands for Regional Income Tax Agency, a company that would administer income tax collections on behalf of the village, and Davis was instructed to arrange for a representative to attend.
Officials say the village of 237 residents is on the verge of dissolving and becoming part of Middleton Township unless they are able to tap other sources of operating revenue.
The village budget for 2013 was set at $68,829, which exceeds estimated revenue by about $500. This includes the estimated $4,600 in property taxes the village is to receive from the new operating levy.
Village Solicitor Michelle Simonelli pointed out the village is still making payments on $50,000 in state auditor fees it owes dating back to audits performed in the mid 2000s. The debt keeps growing with every annual audit since the village lacks the money to pay the state in full.
"The village of Rogers really needs to turn things around" if it intends to remain a functioning village, she said, and the income tax is another step in that direction. "These are the things you have to do if you want a village."
Mayor Sharon Hebron said additional operating revenue is needed desperately, noting its share of state Local Government Fund money has been cut by half in recent years to $18,900.
The village offers few services to its 237 residents, besides street maintenance, street lights and firefighting services that it contracts through the Negley Fire Department. There is no longer any police department, nor does the village provide water and sewer services.
Besides residents, the income tax would apply to workers at the five businesses in town: Buckeye Firearms, the Rogers Feed Mill, Save A Lot supermarket, Dollar General store and the former Cowan's Market.
In other business, the village agreed to contribute $3,000 toward the $9,000 purchase price of two new air packs by the Negley Fire Department. The money will come from the 0.5-percent village fire levy, which generates $500 a year. The fire fund has a current balance of $4,000, and Davis recommended against depleting the fund.
Kevin Shaffer, who recently moved to town, told council he would like to be considered for the vacant council seat held by Lloyd Willis, who resigned in November. Hebron told Shaffer he has to live in the village for six months before they can consider his application.
His mother, Marlene Shaffer, also attended the meeting and asked what became of the old fire hall once the department merged with Negley. Hebron told her the building was sold to the Rogers Rod & Gun Club for $10,000.