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WARREN City will get input on new tax position



Published: Thu, June 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A committee will draft a job description and recommend other changes.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The city has enlisted community input to help structure the newly created position of tax administrator.

The new position comes as other changes are being made in hopes of improving the income tax department.

An ad hoc committee made up of financial experts soon will begin meeting to discuss city council's pending legislation that would make such changes.

The city treasurer's position was made part time this year to handle investments only.

Ousted treasurer: Newcomer John Taylor, president of Paige & amp; Byrnes Insurance, ousted treasurer Patricia Leon-Games for the part-time post in May.

The committee will make recommendations to council on specific job duties for the tax administrator and under which city department's authority the position will fall.

Taylor and Leon-Games will have input on the matter, officials say.

At Tuesday's council finance committee meeting, Council President Doug Franklin called the tax administrator one of the most significant new positions created in the last 20 years.

Duties ahead: The committee's tasks, he said, will include reviewing and analyzing council's pending legislation to make changes; discussing possible job descriptions and ordinances from other cities; looking at the department's management structure; and discussing how daily deposits will be handled.

Franklin said committee members will include accountants from area firms and other financial authorities.

Dan Polivka, D-at large, said the idea for forming the committee was made before Taylor's victory last month.

He explained that forming a committee takes the politics out of decisions regarding the income tax department, which has come under fire in recent months.

"My concern was to make this [process] as fair as possible and to restore public trust," Polivka said.

Earlier this year, a state performance audit showed the department, under Leon-Games' guidance, could have been collecting as much as $2.2 million more each year in income tax.

Up next: Once logistics of the new position are hammered out, the full-time job will be advertised and the committee will screen applicants.

It will then recommend the top three applicants to the hiring authority.

Council will have say in the matter, but where ultimate authority lies is in question, Franklin added.

Legislation to make changes to the department comes up for passage at council's June 27 meeting.

Bob Marchese, D-at large and finance committee chairman, said he may decide to hold off calling for a vote if the committee isn't ready to make recommendations.

Registration issue: Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd, has asked the committee to also look at legislation council put on hold in April that addresses registration of all businesses working in the city to ensure taxes are collected.

These include businesses such as landscapers and construction companies that do business in Warren only part of the year.

davis@vindy.com




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