Upper Arlington News

City notes

Financial report shows how tax dollars are allocated


For those of you who read my columns regularly or keep involved in city issues, you are no doubt aware that city finances are front and center for us these days, primarily due to significant cuts to our revenue stream.

Well, now's your chance to really delve into the ins and outs of our fiscal position from 2012, courtesy of the 2012 Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR), recently mailed to UA homes.

The good news is we continue to operate within our means. The bad news, however, is that we are feeling the impacts of the hard blows dealt many municipalities of late -- namely, the reduction in the Local Government Funds at the state level and the elimination of the estate tax beginning at the start of this year.

UA has been taking steps to prepare and maintain its high level of fiscal responsibility, but the task of finding ways to make up for these revenue losses without affecting the quality of service that residents expect continues.

Taxes and finances are a complicated thing on a personal level, let alone at a city or state level. Though we've always provided a breakdown of where your property taxes go within the PAFR, we've added a section that pulls together the various taxes or fees a typical resident pays and how much of that whole actually is paid to the city.

For example, only about 9 percent of your property tax bill goes to the city. The vast majority -- 64 percent -- goes to the schools, and nearly one-fourth goes to Franklin County.

For the average-priced home in UA (at $333,809, according to the Franklin County Auditor's Office), the property tax bill sits at just over $7,600. Of that, only $677 goes to the city.

Though income tax is one of the city's biggest sources of income, non-residents who work here primarily generate it.

Most UA residents work elsewhere -- 83.5 percent, in fact, meaning that their income taxes go to other jurisdictions.

No income tax is paid to UA if you work outside the city for rates set at 2 percent or above, due to a 100-percent tax credit. Plus, retirees pay no income tax.

When you consider core city services such as police, fire/EMS, parks maintenance, capital improvements, public services, solid waste and stormwater, the value of services provided is slightly more than $2,270 per household.

Unless all of a family's income is earned in UA, you're paying far less than $2,270 per year.

For example, if a typical family earns all of its income in Columbus, it would pay only $874 a year in taxes and miscellaneous fees combined to Upper Arlington.

Look for a link to our online version of the PAFR at uaoh.net, where you can download an online calculator that will give you a pretty good idea of how much you actually pay to the city each year.

Construction updates

American Electric Power has a project lined up for the section of Kenny Road between Fishinger and West North Broadway. Visit uaoh.net for details of these and other summer construction projects.

Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.