Members of the Carbon County Tax Collection Committee met Wednesday to continue to work on finding a way to streamline how county earned income taxes are collected.

During the meeting, attorney William Schwab, chairman of the group, announced that "the state has allocated $500,000 to help offset the cost of advertising, cost of consultants, legal fees, whatever we have for a 50/50 match."

He added that a maximum of $5,000 can be awarded to each group through an application process.

Schwab asked that he be authorized to complete the application for the funds.

The delegates in attendance unanimously voted to allow Schwab to move forward on applying the $5,000 grant.

Donna McGarry, chairperson of the bylaws subcommittee, updated the committee on progress that is being made on the bylaws.

The subcommittee met on Monday to work on five major issues that were pointed out during the January meeting. Those issues were the definition of a suitable delegate so that delegates will be residents of the political subdivision they represent on the committee; the definition of a quorum so that it would be a minimum number of both school districts and municipalities and not a minimum number of total delegates; the vote weight per delegate; the officer and agent positions required to serve on the board and; the requirement that a solicitor be chosen who does not currently serve a political division within the county.

McGarry reported that the subcommittee took a vote on four of the five issues; and that another meeting for the bylaws is scheduled to hopefully resolve the remaining issues.

One major issue that the group has discussed since its inception in October is the weighted votes of each of the delegates.

Currently, the weighted vote system for the five Carbon County school districts and 23 municipalities is based on a formula that was determined by the state Department of Community and Economic Development. This weighted vote system is based on a combination of the amount of revenue the municipality or school district collects and its population, in proportion to the revenues collected.

For example, Jim Thorpe borough has an earned income tax revenue of $441,980 and has 4,804 residents. That means, based on those two factors, the town's weighted vote is 4.33 percent.

Schwab asked if the bylaws subcommittee could have a draft of the bylaws to all delegates for review by early March.

McGarry said she believes that will be possible.

Nothing new was reported by the Request for Proposal subcommittee because the winter weather last week prevented the group from meeting.

Schwab asked that the group have a draft of the RFP ready for the group's March 17 meeting.

The county tax collection committee was formed because of Act 32 of 2008, which amends the Local Tax Enabling Act.

Under Act 32, counties are now required to form a countywide collection committee and delegate one tax collector who will be responsible for the collection of earned income tax. Act 32 takes effect in 2012.

This new law states that this reduction in the amount of earned income tax collectors will provide for quicker money turnarounds, which means municipalities and school districts will get paid sooner.

The Carbon County Tax Collection Committee members include delegates from Jim Thorpe, Kidder Township, Penn Forest Township, East Penn Township, Franklin Township, Lehighton, Mahoning Township, Parryville, Weissport, Bowmanstown, Lower Towamensing Township, Palmerton, Towamensing Township, Lansford, Nesquehoning, Summit Hill, Coaldale, East Side, Lausanne Township, Lehigh Township, Packer Township, and Weatherly; as well as Jim Thorpe, Lehighton, Palmerton, Panther Valley and Weatherly school districts.

More information on Act 32 can be found at www.act32info.com [1].