Grove City Record

City leaders tell Grossman about House Bill 5 concerns

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Grove City leaders are expressing their opposition to aspects of a proposed piece of state legislation designed to create uniformity in Ohio's municipal tax code.

At the Grove City Council meeting Monday, June 17, Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage presented a letter to council members expressing opposition to a component of House Bill 5 that would allow businesses to carry forward and deduct net operating for five years.

The letter, addressed to former Grove City mayor and current state Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City), who is one of House Bill 5's sponsors, was signed by Stage and later by Council President Ted Berry, Councilwoman Melissa Albright, Councilwoman Maria Klemack-McGraw and Councilman Steve Bennett.

"The elected officials of Grove City thank you for your efforts to create uniformity in the Ohio Municipal Tax Code through House Bill 5," the letter reads. "We cannot, however, support the passage of House Bill 5 as long as it contains requirements to allow businesses to carry forward and deduct net operating losses for five years."

That provision of the bill, said City Finance Director Mike Turner, could allow businesses to apply losses from one year to profitable years, negatively impacting the revenue the city would receive.

The letter asks that provision be removed.

Stage said city officials are in favor of the "mechanics" of standardizing the municipal tax code.

"We're OK with everybody using the same forms and standards," he said. "We have no problems with standardization."

However, Stage said they are opposed to aspects of the bill that infringe on Home Rule and negatively impact revenue.

"It's not revenue neutral," he said.

Councilman Jeff Davis was the only council member not to sign the letter.

"I'm not sure that I disagree with the content of the letter," he said. "But there are other ways to approach our state legislator."

In other action June 17, City Council:

• Approved by votes of 4-0 three ordinances accepting annexations from Jackson Township. The properties -- 101.3 acres at 3650 London-Groveport Road, 24.1 acres at 3385 and 3395 London-Groveport Road and 0.5 acres at 3500 London-Groveport Road -- are owned by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO).

The land in question figures into plans for a comprehensive recycling facility and green industrial park to be built by Team Gemini of Orlando, Fla., which is leasing the property from SWACO.

Council President Ted Berry, who is employed by Ohio State University, one of the partners on the project, abstained from voting on the annexations.

• Held its first reading on a number of ordinances scheduled for public comment and vote on July 1, including appropriating $45,000 for expenses of Big Splash operations and $25,000 to demolish a nuisance property at 3879 Santa Maria Drive.

Parks and Recreation Director Kim Conrad said the money is needed at Big Splash because of cooler weather and lower than expected pre-season sales.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to turn that around" yet this season, she said.

The demolition money will be used to demolish property that has fallen into a "state of disrepair" since its owner, Russell L. Beaty died in February 2007. According to the ordinance, the city's chief building and zoning official has declared the property "dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy," and that there were seven separate code violations.

• Held the first reading of an ordinance to approve a special use permit for the sale of weapons at 3513 Farmbank Way, by the Photovac Laser Corp.

According to a staff report from the Development Department dated May 31, the sale of weapons would be in addition to an existing business already on the site and would include firearms such as rifles, shotguns and pistols but no ammunition.

"Guns will be kept in a secure storage gun safe and sales will be conducted by appointment only," according to the report. "Gun safety classes will also be conducted on the site. No 'live' firearms training will be held onsite."

The Development Department recommended approval of the application as submitted. Council is scheduled to vote on it July 1.

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