The committees of city council met last night. My notes are below:
Oil well -- The Public Improvements Committee held a public hearing on the city's potential lease of mineral rights beneath Ritchie Road. The oil well is already drilled, on property owned by The Church of New Hope. A great deal of the people who spoke against the city selling its mineral rights were residents of other cities who travel to whatever city is having this debate.
Stow-Kent Shopping Center -- The Planning Committee learned about the zoning changes proposed for the Stow-Kent Shopping Center. The only significant change is this: Multi-family housing will be permitted. To clarify another misconception: There is currently no proposal to re-develop the property. In fact, there is not even a hint of one. Any new construction is "very much up in the air," according to one of the owners. I'm not optimistic.
Tax revenue update -- The Finance Committee received a mid-year update on tax revenue receipts. Before I get into that, here is some background: 65 percent of the city's revenue comes from income tax. There are four components of the income tax (listed from most significant to least): 1) Employer withholding of income earned in Stow. 2) An individual who works in a city with a lower municipal tax rate than Stow. 3) Tax on corporate net profits. 4) Taxes on utility companies.
Overall, our income tax receipts are up 2.68 percent from June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2012. As for the individual components, withholding tax receipts have increased 6.43 percent (from $4,418,000 to $4,702,000). Individual tax receipts increased 7.9 percent (from $1.4MM to $1.5MM). Corporate profit tax receipts fell 14 percent (decrease equal to $130,000). Utility tax receipts fell from $24,000 to $7,000. The bottom line is, we are right where our tax department projected us to be, and that's good news.
Before Stow sets its 2013 budget, we will be presented with a five-year forecast of expenditures. I have been pushing for this since I arrived on council. This will allow us to plan to balance the budget and restore funding to our roads program over the long term.
City council will meet at 6:30 p.m. for an executive session, and the regular council meeting will start at 7.