Thursday, December 02, 1999

Campbell boosts tax cap

Maximum rises to $372.50

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ALEXANDRIA — Campbell County Fiscal Court approved Wednesday night a 60 percent increase in the county's license/payroll tax cap to $372.50 annually.

        The increase, the first in the county since 1986, is ex pected to raise an additional $850,000 annually for the financially strapped county government, which has been balancing the budget in recent years by dipping into its financial reserves.

        The current payroll/license fee cap — the maximum an individual working in county must pay — is $237.50.

        The cap for a business operating or performing a service in the county increases to $542.16 on net profits not to exceed $53,334.

        There was no discussion on the three ordinances that were approved on second reading. Each ordinance covers a separate area for which the tax is collected — for transportation and general fund use, for men tal health/mental retardation, and senior services.

        Commissioners had previously reviewed all the options for balancing the budget, and had put a freeze on salary increases and other immediate expenses including the purchase of some new police cruisers.

        By increasing the tax cap while maintaining the same 0.95 percent tax, the county will be collecting more money from those who earn more.

        Someone who makes $35,000 a year will pay an additional $135 in payroll tax annually, while someone making just $15,000 a year will pay only $15 more annually.

        “We realized that if we didn't increase the payroll tax cap, we would have to start looking at a reduction in services to save money,” Judge-ex ecutive Steve Pendery said. “The payroll tax is our largest single source of revenue, and we haven't approved an increase since 1986.”

        In a related move, the county commissioners authorized County Attorney Justin Verst to take any action deemed necessary to force companies and individuals to comply with the collection of

        the payroll tax.

        “We have at least one company right now that is not in compliance, and that means there could be others,” Mr. Verst said. “We have no way of knowing how much money the county is losing at this point. But we're going to look into this very closely and pursue anyone who is not paying the tax.”

        Commissioners heard complaints at the Wednesday Fiscal Court meeting from several county residents about problems with vehicles being damaged while undergoing the required emission testing at the facility in Wilder. One vehicle reportedly sustained a ruptured fuel pump when the gas tank was overpressurized.

        “This is an old story we've heard in the past,” said Commissioner Roland Vories. “We had the same kind of problems the last time Northern Kentucky had auto emission checks.”

        Commissioner Dave Otto asked that any Campbell County resident who has experienced any type of problem with the emission testing program call the Fiscal Court office at 292-3838 so the county administration can begin to compile a list of complaints.

        The Fiscal Courts in Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties went on record prior to the start of the new emission testing process this fall, mandated by the federal EPA, asking for a moratorium until studies were completed on the reliability of and need for the tests.


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