Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Do You Like Your Local Government?

Last night, at the Village Council meeting, Council voted at the recommendation of the village manager to adopt Resolution 2011-22. This is a resolution opposing any action by the State of Ohio to centralize the collection of municipal income tax.  Just last Saturday, the Cincinnati Enquirer published an article regarding the Village of Indian Hill passing the exact same resolution. Indian Hill opposes state's tax plan.  It's important to examine exactly what is going on in the State of Ohio and how the actions of the current administration are having a dramatic, and negative effect, on Ohio's local governments.

In June, the State of Ohio repealed the Estate Tax. Amberley, as is the case with all local governments and schools, relies on the revenue from inheritance taxes to operate the village.  Especially, in Amberley's case, where we enjoy a lifestyle that is unencumbered by business and industry, the elimination of this source of funding proved to be a devastating blow to our budget. Additionally, the governor's budget slashed local government funding by 50% over the next two years. Kasich's budget slashes aid to local governments.  All this, plus the reduction in our property values spells bad news for Amberley.  For more on how Ohio's cuts to local governments are effecting the budgets of other Hamilton County municipalities, read what the Cincinnati Enquirer had to say on Sunday, December 18th. Our council and the new Ad Hoc Committee that is examining our finances have looked and are still looking for additional ways to cut the budget and increase revenue.  Governor Kasich expected it would be an easy fix to simply "share services" with other local governments, but Amberley has a unique situation where it already "shares" services with itself by having a combined police and fire department where all police are fireman already.

Now, the State of Ohio wants to pad its own budget with money our local government would have to pay it to collect municipal taxes when it already costs us less, and is more efficient, to do it ourselves.  Please join Amberley Village, Indian Hill, and the Ohio Municipal League in vehemently opposing any and all efforts by the State of Ohio to take over the collection of local income taxes.  Also, urge our representatives to oppose or reject any new legislation to transfer collection of power to the State of Ohio Department of Taxation.  You can contact our state representatives by clicking this link:  Contact My Representative.

Finally, last night was the last official council meeting presided over by Mayor Merrie Stillpass.  Merrie has served as an upstanding steward of Amberley Village since 1997.  She chaired or served on nearly every committee and she is responsible for the creation of the Environmental Stewardship committee which, in these times of increased environmental awareness and concern over where our food comes from, is proving to be one of the most forward-thinking committees on council.  Her skill and connections as a well-respected urban planner have helped to bring us the designation of Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.  Last year she brought recognition to Amberley Village by hosting World Town Planning Day in our community, as well as using her contacts at the number one design school in the country, UC D.A.A.P., to bring our own Amberley Green to the forefront of urban design.  We will greatly miss her skill, transparency, and most of all, her honesty, as a servant of our village.


  1. Merrie will be sorely missed! Natalie, thank you so much for starting this blog. I appreciate your viewpoint, as well as the fact that you will keep us informed as to whats going on inside council. I'm really looking forward to future posts! Ilene Ross

  2. Great post! Keeping folks aware of what's going on.

  3. Natalie,

    Thanks for shining a light on the actions of the outgoing Council and the former Village Manager!

    As you note, the Village has a project budget deficit of $1.5M in 2011. We've lost $100,000 in revenue related to falling home values, $25,000 in revenue related to the reduction in the Local Government Fund, and won't lose a single dime from the elimination of Ohio's Estate Tax for another 14 months. In other words, the outgoing Council has left you with a budget deficit of $1.5M in 2011, and only $125,000 of that is the fault of the State of Ohio.

    The remaining fault obviously lies entirely with the outgoing Council and/or the former Village Manager. Spending in the Village has been growing at a rate in excess of 6%, which is simply unsustainable, whereas revenues in the Village have been growing at a rate of 2%, which is sustainable (the elimination of the Estate Tax in the future not withstanding).

    Amberley Village has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

    Please keep the heat on!

  4. Uninformed comments like Mr. Theil's ( a non-Amberley resident) are dangerous and woefully lopsided in their perspective. Within the next 14 months the State source of funds, which account for 25% of the Amberley budget, will be gone. Earnings tax for the last decade have been flat, and a short term budgeting platform like the one Mr. Theil seems to champion will leave Amberley ill prepared to manage on a sustainable level. No organization could sustain that kind of revenue hit and survive. I believe this opinion is one shared by 6 of the 7 incoming council members so don't be fooled into placing blame on the past and on our excellent staff.

  5. I believe incoming council is waiting on the report from the financial committee made up of village residents prior to making any decision. Anonymous should only speak for himself.


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