BRADFORD — As part of a push for income tax compliance, Bradford Council approved a resolution increasing the penalty against those charged with failing to pay their income taxes during their meeting Thursday evening.
The penalty was changed to a fourth-degree misdemeanor, whereas it previously was a minor misdemeanor, which was equivalent to a traffic citation and allowed those charged to pay a fee and post bond to avoid court.
“It forces them to go to court,” Village Administrator Rick Looker said. “It forces them to talk to me.”
Those found guilty can also be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor on a second and subsequent offense within one year after the first offense.
The maximum potential sentence for being found guilty of a fourth-degree misdemeanor in Ohio is 180 days in jail and a fine of $250, and the maximum potential sentence for being found guilty of a third-degree misdemeanor in Ohio is 180 days in jail and a fine of $500. A minor misdemeanor has a maximum fine of $150 and no possible jail time.
The resolution stemmed from the village previously deciding to go after delinquent taxpayers, including approximately 150 people who owed income taxes to the village. Looker said that if people contact the village about paying their taxes, then the village will not pursue them through court, as the village is seeking to collect the funds owed. Delinquent taxpayers have to contact the village before their court date in order to do so.
“We’re probably around 70 percent of the people who have complied,” Looker said of the delinquent taxpayers they have gone after.
Treasurer Brenda Selanders said that the village since has received approximately $4,220 in income taxes owed to the village in 2015 and prior. Looker added that he is aware of one or two other delinquent taxpayers who owe around that much just by themselves, so the village is setting up payment arrangements with some of the taxpayers who owe a significant amount.
“Every day we get more and more,” Looker said.
The council approved waiving the three-reading rule for that resolution and voted to declare it an emergency.
Also during the meeting, Looker updated the council on the village’s current water treatment plant. Due to “severe damage done to some of the older parts” at the plant, the village has not been able to soften the water for a couple weeks. It is currently fixed and is expected to continue working until the new plant is able to be used in approximately four to five months.
“We are getting soft water again,” Looker said.
Leaf pickup is also currently taking place. Looker said that he expects leaf pickup to go into full gear next week as the weather continues to change.
The council also approved leasing land including the municipal parking lot for next year’s Bradford Pumpkin Show, which is expected to take place between Oct. 9-13. The land was leased for between Oct. 6-15 in order for set-up and clean-up for the Bradford Pumpkin Show to take place as well.
A deputy from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office updated the village on criminal complaints within the village. The deputy said that the sheriff’s office is working on approximately six cases involving junk cars. There have been no recent violent crimes or burglaries, but the deputy noted that they have had a number of unruly juvenile complaints.
Council members Bob Daughtery and Sandra Miller were absent during the meeting.