Marysville City Council got an earful from residents at the April 25 city council meeting.
Resident Justin Olson wanted to know why he was charged a penalty for paying his city income taxes late, even though he paid by April 15.
He said when he and his wife first moved to Marysville five years ago, they were unaware of a penalty for paying taxes late and had to pay a fee. However, he said, he was told he had to pay by April 15, which is what he has been doing.
"We always came in and we signed the document and paid the bill on the spot," he said.
This year, he was penalized for not making a payment by the end of January.
The problem appears to be rooted in the city's practice of issuing coupons each quarter to residents who work outside Marysville. The coupons state that at least 90 percent of estimated taxes must be paid by Jan. 31, with the remaining 10 percent due by April 15.
Mayor John Gore said in the past, some taxpayers were charged penalties for nonpayment of estimates and some were not.
"There is no rhyme or reason. We have not been able to determine how they decided who paid penalties and who didn't," he said.
In February, the city's income tax staff met with the finance director to discuss receipts of estimated payments. The finance director decided that if 50 percent or more of the estimated payments had been made, no penalty would be charged for the 2012 return. If a taxpayer did not have an estimated payment set in the tax software, he or she did not receive reminder payment coupons and was not charged a penalty.
"Many taxpayers who were upset admitted receiving the coupons and disregarding them," Gore said.
Olson said he received the coupons but still believed he had until April 15 to pay.
Gore said Olson's complaint has brought an issue to the city's attention.
"At the end of the day, we can't figure out why some people were told they had to pay and some people were told they didn't have to. But you got the quarterly forms and they say on there they are mandatory," Gore said.
Also at last week's meeting, a local business owner told council the size of a water tap fee affected his company's plans at a new location.
Sonny Green of North Main Motors said the company moved to the old 84 Lumber lot at 1001 E. Fifth St. and planned to change an eight-inch water line to a two-inch line. The city charged a $34,600 tap fee.
The rest of the plans for the facility could not move forward until the company paid the bill, he said.
Green said North Main Motors has been in business for 25 years in Marysville and until he received the water tap bill, he had always felt the city was his ally.
"Had we not been here 25 years and we got hit with all this stuff, I don't know if we would have stuck around if we were a new company coming in," he said.
Gore, council President Nevin Taylor and Green discussed the issue and Green was told he will receive some kind of refund. The city plans to review utility fees across the board to see if there is room for improvement.
"We are in the process of reviewing all our fees," Taylor said. "There will be some revision and adjustments."