Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Villa Hills, Taylor Mill: Taxes to fix, replace city streets rejected



By Cindy Schroeder
Enquirer staff writer

Voters in two Kenton County cities - Taylor Mill and Villa Hills - rejected special road taxes Tuesday for the repair and replacement of city streets.

With few businesses, the two cities have limited options for raising money for street repairs and maintenance.

In Taylor Mill, voters rejected a proposed tax of $1 per $1,000 assessed property value by a vote of 2,024 to 1,169. The city of 6,913 may have to look into cutting services, finding other revenue sources for road improvements, or assessing individual property owners, Mayor Mark Kreimborg said.

"We can continue to patch and pave streets - but that's only really a Band-Aid effect,'' Kreimborg said. "We have 112 streets, not counting the 81/2 miles of roads the county recently turned back to us (for maintenance and repair).''

Kreimborg said a "Vote No on the Road Tax'' postcard sent to city households by Taylor Mill Commissioner Sara Voelker just days before the election helped defeat the road tax.

"Probably the most disappointing part of this is we started discussing (a possible road tax) last spring,'' Kreimborg said. "(Voelker) never showed any opposition at all, and she wasn't there for the vote.''

Voelker had said earlier that she missed the commission's vote on the road tax because of illness and had subsequently expressed her opposition. She said last week that she was upset by a city mailing that made it sound as if she joined the rest of the city officials in supporting the road tax.

Even with the $335,000 a year that the Taylor Mill road tax was projected to raise, it was still short of the $792,000 a year that the city engineer estimated routine street maintenance would cost over 20 years with no major rebuilding, city officials said. Taylor Mill gets about $100,000 a year from the state for city roads.

The Villa Hills road tax lost by a vote of 2,404 to 1,868. Officials in the city of 7,948 had proposed a tax of 85 cents per $1,000 assessed property value.

"I think the voters are just saying that this isn't the right way to tackle the road problem,'' said Villa Hills Mayor Mike Sadouskas. "The voters felt a 43 percent increase in the property tax wasn't the way to do it.''

Sadouskas said the City Council that takes office in January will have to decide how to deal with aging streets. The city's finance committee had proposed several options, including assessing individual property owners and increasing the insurance premium tax. If voters had approved the Villa Hills road tax, city officials had said, they would repeal the annual license fee tax of $8.50 per car - which generates about $45,000 a year.

Although some Villa Hills residents questioned the 43 percent increase, Sadouskas said the city didn't want to return to voters in a year or two because the tax didn't raise enough to put a dent in Villa Hills' road needs. Two city engineers have said it will cost about $700,000 a year during the next 10 years to do the needed street replacement work - more than double with the city spends now.

"I don't think we can just walk away from it,'' Sadouskas said of the city's road needs. "I'm going to talk to the incoming council people and ask them to think about (some possible solutions).''

Four challengers, including former councilman Tim Sogar, will join incumbents Tim Reese and Julie Schuler on the Villa Hills City Council next year. That race was uncontested.

In Kenton County, the cities of Fort Mitchell and Park Hills have had a road tax for years.

E-mail cschroeder@enquirer.com




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Voters repeal amendment on gay rights
Ohio Supreme Court: GOP's justices appear to be buttressing majority
Voinovich has no trouble winning 2nd Senate term
Sycamore levy passes; four others fail
Kerry effort falls short in Ohio
Ohio Republicans aim to maintain grip in House, Senate
Ohio election briefs
Ohio Issue 1 passes
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Cincinnati school levy passes
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CLERMONT CO. RACES
Clermont County: Republicans remain choice in early count
Clermont County tax issues: Long lines delay counting
BUTLER CO. RACES
Fairfield levy passes
Butler commission: All incumbents being returned
Butler levies: Support strong for health, social care funding
Butler County Sheriff: Jones likely successor to Gabbard
WARREN CO. RACES
Heavy turnout, long lines delay vote count
Kings levy passes by slim margin
INDIANA RACES
Indiana governor: Daniels prevails after tough, costly slugfest
Ballot misprint may affect Ind. school board race

KENTUCKY ELECTION RESULTS:
LOCAL RACES
Alexandria: Voters stick with City Council's six incumbents
Bellevue City Council: Two incumbents losing seats with 4 of 5 precincts counted
Covington: Sanders and Stricker joining City Commission
Campbell County: Ward holds on to retain seat on Circuit Court
Florence City Council: One newcomer, five incumbents win seats
Independence: Four who opposed insurance tax win
Newport: Mayor, all four on council will be keeping their seats
Suburban schools: Campbell, other area boards get fresh faces
Villa Hills, Taylor Mill: Taxes to fix, replace city streets rejected
Urban schools: Newcomer ousts incumbent, snags Newport board seat
N. Ky. election briefs
STATE RACES
Popular president dominates Kentucky
Ky. Senate: Bunning wins - but race was close
Ky. House: This time around, Davis prevails
Issue One: Kentucky overwhelmingly says yes to no-gay-marriage
State's determined voters brave long lines, waits, rain
23rd Senate District: Westwood survives challenge by Groob
Ex-Gov. Carroll wins Frankfort seat
State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat
67th House District: Keene's win preserves spot for Democrats

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