NILES Treasurer-elect resists tax panel

The committee would assist in collecting taxes from the 40 percent who didn't file.
NILES -- The city's treasurer-elect opposes creation of an advisory committee for the income tax department.
Mayor Ralph A. Infante Jr. suggested a committee composed of himself, Auditor Neil Buccino and a member of the public after a performance audit of the income tax department found that about 40 percent of businesses and individuals in the city didn't file 2000 income tax returns.
The audit by state Auditor Jim Petro's office listed 20 recommendations for the department.
"I don't agree with creating an oversight panel for the income tax department," said Richard Bullock, treasurer-elect, at a council meeting Wednesday. "Overseeing that department is part of the responsibility of the treasurer. There aren't many people who would like starting a job with someone looking over their shoulder."
Janet Rizer, income tax director, distributed to council members responses to each of the 20 recommendations in the state report. Some of the recommendations already have been implemented.
Bullock said he plans to keep the mayor and council informed about how the recommendations are being addressed and about income tax collections.
City Law Director J. Terrence Dull said he spoke with the state auditor's office, which said council has a right to establish a panel if it acts in an advisory capacity.
Proposals: Dull prepared two pieces of draft legislation for council members. One would establish a panel through the end of this year. Bullock takes office in January. Under the second draft ordinance, the panel would continue until council determines its purpose is accomplished.
Council didn't act on either draft.
Councilman Thomas Scarnecchia, D-at large, said council didn't intend for a panel to look over Bullock's shoulder.
"We have all the faith in the world in you," Scarnecchia said. "It was discussed to help you in providing additional tools to you."
The panel would have included Bullock as the member from the public before he takes office.
Infante requested a meeting with finance committee members, Bullock, Rizer and Treasurer Vickie Flynn-Putnam to discuss the income tax department's response to the performance audit. The meeting will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Coordinator approved: Council also approved an ordinance creating an emergency management coordinator for the city. The mayor will appoint the part-time coordinator who will earn $350 monthly.
The coordinator will serve as a liaison between the city and federal, state and county boards and agencies that deal with emergency preparedness. The coordinator also will develop a disaster plan for the city.
Councilman Paul Hogan, D-4th, voted against the ordinance, saying city safety forces include people capable of accomplishing those tasks.
"I think it's a good idea, I just think we can do it in-house," Hogan said.

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