The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

October 20, 2012

Officials proposing to keep tax firm in city building

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

HERMITAGE — Hermitage city officials hope the firm that took over collection of all Mercer County earned income taxes will want to keep their office in the city building.

Berkheimer Tax Administration, Bangor, Pa., has occupied a 150-square-foot office at the city building this year, paying $1 for rent for the year.

The company wants more space for its two employees, and City Manager Gary P. Hinkson said they can move next door, to the space previously occupied by the city’s earned income tax staff. It would give them access to the counter and window already in place.

“Where they are right now isn’t conducive to serving the public,” Hinkson said.

Under the proposal outlined to commissioners Thursday, the company would pay $50 a month and still be responsible for their own telephone, fax and Internet service.

Hinkson is proposing a lease through 2014, the year Berkheimer’s contract runs out with the county EIT committee, with a year-to-year rollover possible.

City officials pursued Berkheimer because having the company in the city benefits city officials, businesses and residents.

“It has worked out very well for us and Hermitage businesses,” Hinkson said.

The transition from city employees collecting wage taxes to Berkheimer has “gone well,” and Berkheimer employees have been easy to work with, Hinkson said.

The city phased out its earned income tax office this year. Former receiver of tax Sherry Iversen was retained as a liaison with Berkheimer, overseeing the city’s interests in EIT and local services tax collections; two other employees retired and the third moved to another position with the city.

Commissioners agreed to consider an ordinance for the new lease Wednesday, and a public hearing and final vote would be held in November.