Saturday, August 14, 2004

Property taxes to stay the same

Covington will try to pare outlays

By Cindy Schroeder
Enquirer staff writer

COVINGTON - This city's property tax rates for 2004 will stay the same as last year, marking the 27th consecutive year they have either dropped or stayed flat.

Covington's property tax rate will stay at $2.99 per $1,000 assessed property value.

That's the lowest property tax rates have been since at least World War II and a drop from the rate of $3.22 per $1,000 assessed property value that was in effect three years ago.

The public can have its say on the proposed rate at a public hearing on Aug. 24, but property owners rarely attend, city officials said.

"In the five years I've been with the city, I haven't seen one person speak up,'' said Covington Finance Director Bob Due. "I guess there hasn't been that triggering mechanism to call people's attention to (the tax rate). I think if there was an increase in the rate, we would have more response.''

A typical property owner with a $75,000 home will pay $224.25 a year, Due said.

"People get enough in the tax area with the Covington school board,'' Mayor Butch Callery said. "We felt the very least we could do for our residents was keep our property tax rate at the same level while continuing to provide great services.''

Callery said the city recently brought in an additional $380,000 for operating expenses and added more than 40 businesses to the city's tax rolls after an eight-week amnesty campaign to collect late payroll and net profits taxes.

Omnicare and the Internal Revenue Service also increased the number of employees in the past year, and the city will receive taxes from another 350 workers when Club Chef opens in south Covington this November.

However, Covington is looking at double-digit increases this budget year in everything from workers compensation (20 percent) to state pensions (22 percent) to health insurance (11 percent), Due has said.

To prevent a $1.3 million shortfall, city officials are considering various fee increases, attrition and cost-cutting options, such as a 10-percent cut in employee overtime. Some of the fees the city hasn't raised in at least 10 years include parking tickets, 2:30 a.m. liquor licenses, regular beer and alcohol licenses, and occupational license fees.

"Like everyone else, we're hoping for an upturn in the economy,'' Callery said. "We're still pushing to create more jobs in the city, which will broaden our revenues, and we're watching what we spend.''

Cargo plane wreckage yields few early clues
Convair 580 crash history
Father-son airline flies for major cargo firms
14-year-old to be tried as an adult in 2 killings
Juvenile prison reforms outlined
Lower temps clearing the pools

Officer discusses loss, new position
Nurse dedicates self to serving rural poor
Freedom owners group sued
Blue Ash neighbors sharing history
Cincinnati sends help to Charley victims
Cincinnati visit proved cooking wasn't an act
Local news briefs
Neighbors briefs
Study: Centennial event generated $68.5 million
Soul food makes for some fine dining
Hamilton Co. GOP must repay tainted gift
Judge voids speed trap's traffic tickets
Public safety briefs
Mount Airy man charged in robbery spree
School funding options proposed
Punch-card ballots raise new worries
Tax to pay for landscaping
With white coats, they don mantle of responsibility

Good Things Happening
Nuns reflect on changes over decades

Ray Bauman ran Cheviot meat store
Carlos VerJuan Edwards, theater artistic director

Dems want more families exempt
Archbishop said he was aware of complaints in '82
N.Ky. politics comes clean
Two groups battle as Ky. Colonels
Ex-state official charged with 47 counts of stealing
Unions sue over council's abolishment
Parents, bring a pencil
UK to expand pharmacy service statewide
Robke resigns from city council
Property taxes to stay the same