WARREN Council approves legislation to create position

WARREN -- The city will soon be advertising for the new position of income tax administrator, though some city council members disagree with the established salary.
Council met in special session Wednesday, approving legislation that creates the position, sets a salary at about $53,000 and requires that candidates have a four-year degree in finance or a related field, with experience preferred.
Councilwomen Helen Rucker, D-6th, Susan Hartman, D-7th, and Sherry Cox-Calloway, D-at-large, voted against legislation containing the outlined salary.
They said the salary is too high.
Rucker also said she believes solid experience with income tax matters is more important than a degree with minimal experience.
Agreed to salary: All other council members agreed to the salary.
Dan Polivka, D-at-large, said the amount is warranted because the position is important to tax collections.
The city is making changes to the income tax department in the wake of a critical state performance audit that said collections were not aggressive enough.
Voters in May elected John Taylor as the city's treasurer, replacing Patricia Leon-Games. Council earlier this year agreed to cut back hours for the position.
The tax administrator will handle collections, while officials say the treasurer will handle investments. The administrator will report to the treasurer.
Council President Doug Franklin said the city will likely advertise for the position soon.
An ad hoc committee of financial experts helped the city draft job duties and a description, and Franklin said he'd like the committee to help with the hiring process.
Other business: Council also took the following actions:
UAgreed to object to the renewal of a liquor license for Austin Beverage, 2819 W. Market St. Hartman. The legislation's sponsor said the store has been busted twice in the past year for underage sales. The objection means the state Department of Liquor Control will be asked to hold a hearing on the matter.
UPassed legislation that will dump more than $2 million into departments fueled by its general fund. The money will come from a $600,000 carry-over from last year's budget, and about $400,000 will come from a state worker's compensation refund. About $1.5 million will come from the recently passed 0.5 percent income tax increase. The understaffed police and fire departments will get a good chunk of the money to hire personnel.
UAgreed to allow the city to spend $1.5 million for vehicles, equipment and capital improvements. Under this plan, $401,000 goes to police; $353,000 goes to firefighters; $481,000 goes to the operations department; and the remaining money will go to other departments.
UAgreed to give Packard Music Hall $80,000 for operating expenses for wages, fringes and contracted services, and $50,000 for capital projects including a computerized box office and equipment for a bar and concession stand.
Cox-Calloway voted against this measure, saying the city should have other spending priorities when it's strapped for cash.

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