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Springfield Township Area Residents Take a Stand!

Giving credit where it is due…

After the CIC meeting Wednesday morning I raised some concerns with Trustee Mark Berning as well as Assistant Administrator Chris Gilbert about the filing deadlines for the CIC incentive grant.  This afternoon I received a call back from Chris and he informed me that they have decided to change the policy to allow for an extension of the deadline when an extension (Form 20) has been filed with RITA.

If we’re going to be critical of our government officials when we feel they are doing it wrong, I think it’s also important to give them props when they are doing it right.

Well done Springfield Twp, and thanks for taking our suggestions into consideration.

The forms are being revised and they will be made available to us when that process has been completed.  As soon as we receive the forms we will make them available here.

JEDZ Board and CIC Meetings this week

There were two meetings this week that we attended for the JEDZ board and the CIC board.

The JEDZ board meeting took place at 10am on Tuesday, December 16.  Here is the link to the video.  This meeting was pretty uneventful, although it came out during the meeting that there are many businesses who are not yet registered with RITA and not withholding the JEDZ tax.  They did mention that the township’s largest employers are set up and paying and they discussed some ways to reach out to the non-compliant businesses to get them compliant.

The CIC board, which is the entity that will be providing the grants back to residents who work in the township or own a business in the township met this morning at 8am.  Here is a link to that video.  In this meeting they voted to finalize the forms needed to apply for the grant and they established the deadline for filing for the grant.  That deadline is April 15 for both individuals and businesses.

While it’s fairly simple for individuals to apply for the grant with their W2, many businesses file extensions and do not have their taxes filed until September or October depending on what type of entity they are.  You can file an extension with RITA, the agency who collects the taxes, just like you can with your Federal and State Income Tax.  However, while the IRS requires a 90% estimated payment, RITA only requires 25% and the rest when you file.  If you only pay 25% at the time of filing the extension and before April 15, you would only be able to apply for a grant in the amount you pay. When the other 75% is paid, it would be past the deadline and therefore not eligible for the grant.

There has been some discussion with trustee Mark Berning after the meeting, because he raised this concern during the meeting.  He said he would look into it further but does not feel they would be able to extend the deadline to October, even though it is the CIC board that sets the deadline.  He was also asked if the remaining amount could be applied for the following year since it would be paid after the deadline and he didn’t think that would be possible.  We are working on reaching out to some other folks to make them aware of this because most businesses do file extensions.  While you can estimate what is owed and pay that amount, the numbers are always different when the finalized version is filed and this adds some complexity to an already complex issue.

Since this is the first year of the tax and it took effect on August 1st, businesses already have to figure out the first half of the year separate from the second half of the year in order to determine their tax liability from August 1 through December 31.  Due to the complexity of this situation, businesses that normally do not file an extension may need to file one this time.  Our hope is that the CIC will be flexible and adjust their deadlines accordingly.  We understand that they want to set it up to be as simple as possible, the problem is that it’s not simple for the businesses, and we feel that the township needs to share in that burden.

We will have the finalized version of the grant forms soon.  When we receive our copy they will be posted here for folks to download.

Trustee meeting – December 9, 2014

Here is the video from tonight’s trustee meeting.  It was pretty short and sweet, although I did get up and ask about the township putting their checkbook online through the initiative that the state treasurer’s office is working on with www.ohiocheckbook.com.  I don’t think they liked me asking the question, however trustee Mark Berning did state that it is something they will look into.  We will be sure to follow up on this in the coming months.

Public Records Request – 2015 Temporary Appropriations (DRAFT)

We requested a copy of the temporary appropriations that were referenced in last night’s special meeting and received it this morning.  Here is a link to the document.

Chris Gilbert, the assistant administrator added the following disclaimer:

“As you know, this is a draft and is subject to change prior to the Board’s adoption anticipated to be on December 23rd.  Changes may be needed due to final carryover calculations from 2014 year-end closeout and any unforeseen issues that may arise between now and then.  Additionally,  this is the temporary appropriations to be able to start the new year and the final appropriations for 2015 will be adopted in March.  Lastly, as we’ve discussed in the past, we generally never spend everything that is appropriated. It’s simply a placeholder that enables the expenditure of funds by the Board, but doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be spent. “

Trustee Work Session Meeting Tonight CANCELED – Special Meeting Scheduled December 8.

The regular trustee work session meeting scheduled for this evening at 4:30pm has been canceled.  There are several regular meetings, a special meeting and a CIC meeting scheduled in December:

Monday, December 8 @ 4:30pm – Special meeting to discuss temporary appropriations for 2015

Tuesday, December 9 @ 5:30pm – Regular trustee meeting

Wednesday, December 17 @ 8:00am – Regular CIC meeting

Tuesday, December 23 @ 4:30pm – Regular work session meeting

Immediately after the regular work session meeting on December 23 there will be an organizational meeting to discuss times/dates for future meetings and to nominate the chairman and vice-chairman of the board for 2015.  They will also pass the resolutions necessary to approve temporary appropriations for 2015.

Please come to these meetings if you can.  It is necessary for the citizens to get involved in their local government so that we can hold our elected officials accountable.

Springfield Township CIC Meeting – October 15, 2014

This morning, at 8am, the CIC (Community Improvement Corporation) that was established for the purpose of giving grants back to residents who work in the JEDZ zone met at the township offices.  They released a draft copy of the forms that residents would need to fill out in order to get their tax money back at the end of the year.  The meeting itself was pretty uneventful, but it was mentioned that residents who are also business owners and pay themselves with payroll from their company (receive a W2) would need to fill out both the employee form and the net profit business form in order to receive a grant both for their personal tax payments as well as the net profit tax for their business.

However, upon examination of the forms (we did not receive them until after the meeting by filing a public records request) the business net profit tax form asks for both personal tax paid into the JEDZ from payroll as well as the net profit paid in, and then another line for the total.  It is unclear if this was a mistake, or if they were incorrect by saying that both forms would need to be filled out, so we sent an email over to Chris Gilbert this morning for clarification.  We have not received any word back yet.

There was also a funny, but kind of sad moment during the meeting as well.  In the first minute of the video, you can see township trustee Gwen McFarlin giving the roll call for the meeting as she is the secretary of the CIC and that is one of the functions of that position.  She was clearly unsure of what she needed to do and who needed to be called on.  She called Chris Gilbert’s name, not realizing that he is not a member of the corporation, and she did not know the name of John Allen who, ironically, was the treasurer of the pro-JEDZ PAC, Citizens for the Future of Springfield Township which she contributed $1000 to during the May primary season when the JEDZ was on the ballot.

It’s really pretty scary to us that these are the people who we have to submit these forms to, with all of our personal information, including social security number, in order to get the grant.  And if you are a business owner you have to provide them with private information about your business and copies of your tax returns.  They even admitted in the meeting that this information would be subject to public records laws and could be requested by anyone.

This whole thing smells really bad…

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