YOUR SIDE: The Readers Take Over

Current city treasurer: There is no need to change

To the editor:

Citizens of Salem, my term as treasurer of the city of Salem is ending. I am concerned about the discussion of replacing the Salem City Income Tax Department with the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA). Why change something that is not broken?

The income tax department has provided Salem with a reliable source of revenue since the income tax began in 1961, while having no tax rate increases until 2016. The local department has always operated in an efficient manner and is audited by the state of Ohio annually, always meeting their standards. The tax department has kept up with the times, providing state of the art services, excellent service and keeping operating costs down. Electronic filing has been available to all businesses in Salem since 2006.

There have been claims that switching to RITA would be a great savings to the city. I believe there would be very little savings and probably an increase in cost.

Chuck Hawk, marketing specialist with RITA, verified that RITA will withhold 3.0 percent of all income tax receipts, for its fee. For 2016, total tax receipts for Salem were $5,976,052.44. (3.0 percent of this amount is $179,281.57). The actual cost for the Salem Income Tax Department for 2016 was $167,449.77 The initial cost for RITA, in this example is $11,831.80 greater than the actual 2016 Salem cost.

RITA will reconcile their costs every June, and may make a refund or charge more depending on what RITA services were used. Most cities I have contacted were averaging around the 3.0 percent initial fee as their final cost.

The current Salem Income Tax Department is working for the city of Salem and the city residents. They are concentrating only on Salem, Ohio, and what is happening here. They keep track of individuals and businesses moving into and out of Salem. They are available daily to assist taxpayers with personal service. RITA will be concentrating on almost 300 cities and villages all over Ohio . By joining RITA, four Salem jobs will leave Salem. These employees have served you diligently, while being paid lower than other departments.

When voting for Salem treasurer in November, please remember these facts.

DR. JOHN CONRAD,

Salem city treasurer

Salem

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Council member encouraging a ‘Yes’ vote for charter commission

To the editor:

The elected Salem City Council unanimously, all Republicans, Democrats and Independents, voted to submit a ballot question to the citizens of Salem.

The question is should a group of 15 non-politicians be formed to discuss the pros and cons of a charter form of government for the city of Salem . Two-hundred and sixty-three other cities in Ohio have gone through the same process.

This is not a vote to form a charter. The commission has not decided if a charter is needed or what may be in it.

One of your readers suggests we should not vote for this discussion because all the political parties are against allowing a group of our friends and neighbors to even sit and discuss the options of city governance.

What exactly are all the political parties afraid of?

Loss of political patronage?

Loss of fundraising income?

Loss of the opportunity to fill vacant political offices?

Loss of control over political office holders?

Lets just sit and talk

Vote ‘Yes” to allow a group of our neighbors to form a Charter Commission to sit and listen

Geoff Goll,

Salem City Council Member

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