Council considers opposing state budget

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON — Covington may be the next local municipality to oppose provisions in Gov. John Kasich’s proposed 2018-19 budget.

Covington Council heard the first reading of a resolution voicing their opposition to a provision within the governor’s state budget proposal that would require businesses to file municipal income tax with the state. The state would then redistribute the funds with a 1 percent administration fee.

“The governor is trying to pass that in the budget, and there’s quite a bit of opposition,” Mayor Ed McCord said.

The proposal would mandate businesses to file their net profit return through the Ohio Business Gateway. The Ohio Business Gateway is controlled by the Ohio Department of Taxation and the funds would be filed without auditing services.

The village is concerned that this could lead to additional loss of revenue and slowing the delivery of services to residents. The council’s resolution calls this provision an “assault on Home Rule Authority” or municipalities’ power to govern locally and collect local income taxes. The resolution also states that this provision “appears to be a plan to redistribute municipal revenue for non-municipal purposes.”

The council is expected to waive their third reading and vote on this resolution at their next meeting on March 20.

The council also heard an update on their improvement project for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The village received five bids for the project, and the low bid was from Jutte Excavating from Fort Recovery for an amount of $1,108,892. The engineer’s estimate for the total cost of this project is approximately $1.3 million. The project will be funded by a grant for $375,000 from the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC); a zero-percent interest OPWC loan for $375,000; and a low-interest loan for $500,000 that is currently pending.

The council also approved the purchase a 2017 police cruiser. The village will finance it through a $34,000 loan with Covington Savings and Loan. The interest rate would be 3.09 percent for a total cost of approximately $36,060.

They also approved the purchase of speed trailer through MPH Industries at a cost of $6,791. The village previously received a donation of $3,500 from the Covington Community Chest and a donation of $1,500 from the Covington Noon Optimists to go toward this purchase.

The council also approved the budget for the fiscal year 2017 and the tax rates as determined by the Miami County Budget Commission for 2017. The tax rates included the anticipated revenue from the fire and emergency medical services levy.

The council then heard the first reading of a resolution to award the contract for 2017 sidewalk program project to J&J Stampworks at a cost of approximately $19,309. Village Administrator Mike Busse’s report noted that the owner of J&J Stampworks is the son-in-law of the village’s fiscal officer Brenda Carroll, who had no involvement in the bid process for this project, Busse noted.

The council also heard the first reading of a resolution to enter the village into an agreement with Official Payments that would allow residents to pay their utility bills online.

The council then heard the first reading of a resolution to enter the village into an agreement with the Miami County Commissioners for emergency management services.

Residents taking part in the village’s electric aggregation program are also expected to see savings. Busse’s report noted that Dynery Corporation was the winning bidder for the program with a bid of 5.29 cents per kwh. According to Busse, this is a savings of more than 20 percent from the current DP&L standard choice price. This rate will be available to residents sometimes in April or May.

McCord reminded residents about village income tax assistance. Staff from the St. Mary’s Department of Taxation will be at the government center, 1 S. High St., to assist Covington residents with questions on March 21, from 1-4 p.m.; April 4, from 6-8 p.m.; and April 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents who attend one of those sessions should bring their W-2s and a copy of their federal tax return, the 1040 form.

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336