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Toledo income tax revenue up

For the first time this year, the city of Toledo is ahead on its income tax collections versus the same period last year, the Bell administration said Thursday.

Through Aug. 31, the city collected more than $82.69 million from the 2.25 percent income tax. The increase over the same time period last year was a tiny 0.01 percent greater, but it was good news for a city that has been down month after month.

The money, however, may not be a true measure of the city's employment health through Aug. 31 because the bump came chiefly from collecting unpaid taxes.

Commissioner of Taxation Clarence Coleman said the city picked up "a significant amount of ground last month" in its individual withholdings category: 76.29 percent over the first eight months of 2009.

The Bell administration is aggressively targeting scofflaws to help keep the 2010 budget in the black. Through its garnishment program, more than $5.1 million in judgments have been filed, resulting in $388,000 being collected this year, Mr. Coleman said.

In addition, about 4,100 cases have filed against delinquent taxpayers who owe about $12.5 million, he said.

Mr. Coleman said the city is on track to collect the amount of income tax money it predicted. When City Council approved its 2010 spending plan on March 30, it projected $138.1 million from income taxes.

Also Thursday, University of Toledo professor David Black reported to council's finance committee that income tax revenues for 2010 would range between $138.7 million and $141.3 million.

Total income tax collections for 2007 were $169.7 million. After that, the tax revenue began to slide. It was $154.4 million in 2008 and $141.5 million in 2009.

City Finance Director Patrick McLean told the finance committee the latest unemployment figures are encouraging but he warned that consumer confidence remains low, the housing sector is still suffering, and foreclosures are still high. The Toledo unemployment rate fell from 12.9 to 11.9 percent in the September report.

Keeping the 2010 budget in the black assumes the city will sell $5 million in assets, such as buildings, land, and even landfill space.

So far, only $1.25 million has been sold, the administration said.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.

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