The following is the latest installment of Mayor Jim Boroff's monthly updates on city issues.
Income tax. April 15 is the deadline for filing and paying the 2009 Tiffin income tax for individuals and calendar-year-end businesses. Filing a city tax return is mandatory for all residents with earned, taxable income and non-residents who conduct a business or service in Tiffin. Even those wage earners who owe no taxes are required to file a return along with a W-2.
Tax returns may be filed and paid at the City Hall Annex at 53 E.Market St., during regular business hours 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. This year, the annex will also be open to file your taxes April 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 12 through 14, the tax office will observe extended hours from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. The office will close promptly at 4 p.m. April 15.
There also is a drop box to the left of the front door for those who cannot make it to the office during work hours.
If you have questions about your city income tax or anticipate needing help in filing your taxes, I suggest you visit the tax office as soon as possible to avoid any last-minute rush.
Street restoration work. As soon as the weather breaks and the asphalt plants open, we will begin the restoration of the streets and boulevards that were affected during the sewer separation project on the east side of town.
In some of these areas, our construction firm, Underground Utilities, already has begun preliminary restoration by filling in the larger depressions on the rights of way so the ground has a chance to settle before they come back for the final work. Likewise, the streets were only temporarily patched for the winter and resurfacing work will commence as soon as is practical.
Emerald ash borer. As most of us are aware, the emerald ash borer has been present in our area for almost two years now. The larva of the borer feeds on the trees, carving "galleries" (grooves) just under the bark which eventually starves the trees of nourishment. Most if not all of the ash trees will fall victim to this scourge.
Last year, the city began an aggressive program of removing the approximately 300 trees from public property and replacing them with other disease-resistant species which are appropriate for urban areas. Our plan is to remove and replace 50 trees per year. Last summer, we eliminated a number of infected ash trees in Hedges-Boyer Park alone.
To further complicate the problem, our forester estimates there are perhaps as many as 2,000 ash trees located on private property. These will certainly fall victim and the property owners will need to remove them.
We are told by the forester it is better to remove these trees sooner as opposed to later, as there is less danger in cutting down a tree before it becomes dead and brittle. If you think you have an ash tree that is showing signs of disease, you can call the city administrator's office at (419) 448-5402 to schedule an appointment to have someone come out to verify you do, indeed, have an ailing tree.
Zoning. About three years ago, the city hired a consulting engineer, DLZ, to study our zoning map and make recommendations as to how we can make our use designations consistent with what is actually happening on the various properties. Their study identifies about eight areas in town where long-time use is not in conformity with the designated zoning.
In an effort to have our zoning maps accurately reflect the land use throughout the city, the administration has asked City Council to hold a series of public meetings to discuss these proposed changes. None of the suggested changes will affect the current use of the land; rather, these are "house-cleaning" measures for the most part.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend these meetings to offer input. The first meeting will be in the municipal court room in the city building starting at 7 p.m. April 26. The areas to be discussed will include a section of land on Grace Avenue, the old West Junior High property and the old Red Horse Tavern/Dell Precision Printing building.
This meeting, as well as those planned for later times, will be for information and discussion only. No action will be taken at that time. Formal zoning procedures will ensue once everyone has a chance to weigh in on the proposed changes.
If you have any questions about any issues facing the city, please feel free to write to me in care of 51 E. Market St., Tiffin, or at email@example.com. I am happy to speak with anyone who has concerns, suggestions or questions about the city. You may call my office at (419) 448-5401 or stop by without an appointment. To ensure I am available, please call ahead.