Wapakoneta Mayor Rodney Metz
Wapakoneta’s mayor says he is encouraged by the latest city income tax revenue report, but he is aware those numbers fluctuate thro-ughout the year.
He also voiced concerned that employment numbers in the region may be causing problems for local industries to find qualified workers, which if they could reach full employment would help city income tax collections climb higher.
Through April, the city of Wapakoneta collected $940,490 in income taxes, compared to $903,260 in 2012 and $902,383 in 2011.
“The reason for the increase is all categories affecting income tax collections are better off this year — individual and industry collections are up as well as rebates are down,” Mayor Rodney Metz said after the Wapakoneta City Council meeting on Monday. “I cannot get employment numbers for the city to get a better handle on income tax collections because the statistics are for Wapakoneta addresses which encompasses the area around the city, too.”
The mayor said the income tax collections and unemployment numbers are relative to the party interested in the figures.
“It really depends on what side of the numbers you are on — from the city’s perspective the income tax revenue and unemployment numbers are a positive,” Metz said. “On the industrial side, I have talked to managers of a couple industries who cannot hire enough people and need positions filled yet.
“I would think this situation would encourage people from outside the city to seek employment here and I have encouraged the plant managers to post their positions on Hometown Opportunities and the area newspapers to get the word out,” Metz said. “Those are just easy ways to get the word out.”
According to data released by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Auglaize County registered an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent in March — down from the 5.8 percent it recorded in February. Last year, the county sat at an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent.
The mayor said he is encouraged by the employment numbers and what their effect should be on keeping income tax collections strong for the rest of the year.
“I think the rest of the year is looking pretty good,” Metz said. “General Aluminum is looking at a long-term project with long-term contracts and should be producing their product pretty regularly. The others have expressed interests in expanding and need employees.”
Metz said there has been no talk lately about approaching voters to raise the city income tax from 1 percent and he has no plans to ask councilors to seek an increase at the ballot.
“Any income tax increase would be up to council,” Metz said. “They would be the ones to seek a modification in the income tax rate and they would be the ones requesting legislation to go to the ballot with an initiative.”