The city of Pataskala is working with the Regional Income Tax Agency, a "council of governments" used by local governments throughout Ohio to centralize the cumbersome administration of income-tax collections.

The city of Pataskala is working with the Regional Income Tax Agency, a "council of governments" used by local governments throughout Ohio to centralize the cumbersome administration of income-tax collections.

Following passage of a 1-percent city income tax earlier this year, the city eventually expects to raise about $2-million annually through income-tax collections.

"We've sent letters out, and we're ramping up coordination with RITA to get it implemented," city administrator Tim Boland said. "We seem to be working through the initial issues. I'd anticipate an October-November time frame to know whether actual collections are close to the projections."

Cities that join RITA still are the formal administrators of their tax systems, and each continues to name a senior tax official, who would serve as the point person.

"All cities will have income-tax administrators, even though RITA administers the tax system," city finance director Jason Carr said.

RITA has been given the city's ordinance and has coded its provisions into RITA systems.

"The city's ordinance was provided to the Regional Income Tax Agency, and they have programmed their processes to comply with the city ordinance," Carr said. "If there is a dispute, I will be the person to authorize or deny the request."

Carr said the first solid information the city would have about how well the system is working should start coming in October.

"When we pass our first quarterly collection period, we'll see how many businesses are out there and how many people have registered," Carr said. "Then, by October or so, I'll have a good idea and a starting point of where we are."

In the early stages, the city likely will take a slow-go approach to enforcement to give the community time to adjust to the new tax.

"One of the questions is, since it is new, the first-year income tax, you have a learning curve," Carr said. "There's an idea of waiving penalties and late fees. RITA can't do that without guidance from the city to do it, and that's something the ad hoc income-tax committee might do."

Carr said a city the size of Pataskala cannot efficiently administer a tax system, compared to the cost of having RITA do it. Larger cities have better economies of scale and could even provide the service to other jurisdictions, just as RITA does.

"Columbus does it for other governments in central Ohio," Carr said. "It (joining RITA) is usually discussed as a cost-saving measure. It would have been difficult with our space constraints and staff levels. There was no way we could efficiently implement an income-tax program."

RITA charges a varying fee based on numbers of transactions, Carr said.

"Their estimated fee would be less than office equipment, software and an income-tax administrator. RITA was definitely the efficient way to go," Carr said.

Boland said city council had decided that the first-year collections, estimated at $1-million, would be shared 75 percent to police and 25 percent for roadways. Council has the power to allocate the tax as it chooses, Boland said.