Covington begins discussion on tax ordinance changes

Approves pay request for Spring Street Project

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON —Covington’s Village Attorney Frank Patrizio brought the need for a new tax ordinance to the council’s attention during their meeting Monday evening. Patrizio discussed revisions needed for the village’s tax ordinance, which are mandatory due to the passage of Ohio’s House Bill 5. Patrizio explained that they received help from the Ohio Municipal League about what the village needs to do.

“They put together a model ordinance for us to pass,” Patrizio said. “It’s important that we do this by the end of the year.” The village will need to repeal their previous tax ordinance.

Currently, the village has a tax credit for residents who do not work within the village. Patrizio used the example of saying that if a resident works in Piqua and pays Piqua income taxes, the resident does not have to pay Covington income taxes.

“There is an option that would do away with that all together,” Patrizio explained.

If the village decided to remove that tax credit from their tax ordinance, then residents working outside of Covington would be required to pay income taxes for both their place of work and Covington income taxes.

The revisions could also allow the village to tax residents under the age of 18 years old for money that they receive that is not earned income. Currently, the village does not tax juveniles, and the village would continue not to tax juveniles’ earned income. The village could decide, though, to adopt a policy that taxes money that they receive through investment incomes or through a partnership, such as their parents. This would then prevent the juveniles from being used as a tax shelter.

“We have to write a completely new ordinance,” Patrizio said.

Council member Scott Tobias asked for clarification on the village’s tax credit, and Village Administrator Mike Busse explained that the credit amounts to $340,000 a year that residents do not have to pay the village in income taxes.

Busse then explained that the village is going to need to look at how to enhance revenues for the village.

“At some point in the not-too-distant future, we’re going to have to address that,” Busse said. Busse said that the village will need to restore the revenue that was once coming in from the state and that Covington is not alone in this venture.

“We’re all looking at how to provide the same amount of services with less revenue,” Busse said.

“It’s also an amount of money to the person being taxed,” Tobias said.

One resident stated that she works in four different cities. “I would take a beating,” she said.

“If you work out of town, you’re definitely not going to like it,” Patrizio said.

Patrizio and Busse explained that since the state has cut funding, cities, libraries, and schools are all hurting because of it.

“The state’s not funding anymore,” Patrizio said.

“You either have to start cutting services or you have to restore these revenues,” Busse said. “It’s obvious that the state of Ohio is not going to give us back the money they took away four or five years ago.”

The new tax ordinance is expected to be discussed further at the next council meeting.

Covington Council also approved the VTF pay request of $191,163.60 for the Spring Street Project during their meeting. Covington’s Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) loan will pay for $157,921.52 of this pay request, while the village will fund the remaining $33,242.08.

This pay request covers the cost of work done on approximately 85 percent of the concrete curbs and gutters, 85 percent of the concrete drives, 85 percent of the concrete sidewalks, and 100 percent of the topsoil.

Brice Schmitmeyer, president of Access Engineering Solutions, also gave an update on the Spring Street Project, explaining that the paving crews are expected to come into town on Wednesday. They will begin with milling some of the streets that are getting resurfaced as part of the project, Schmitmeyer said.

“If all goes well, they should be done paving next week,” Schmitmeyer said. Topsoil was also brought in and is the backfilling for most of the area between the curb and sidewalk. Seeding is expected to happen sometime in September.

The concrete portion of the project is approximately 98 percent complete. “That’s always hectic,” Schmitmeyer said.

Schmitmeyer and Busse also discussed the municipal parking lot, which is expected to have seven or eight parking spots. The layout for the parking lot was changed slightly due to a power pole that could not be moved, according to Busse. The cost to move the power pole would have been $10,000. According to Busse, the pole should not impact the parking lot very much.

During Busse’s full report, he gave a number of updates on the various projects happening within the village. For the Sidewalk Program, $9,035.45 or approximately 40 percent of the sidewalk assessments have been paid.

“Seeding will be completed the last week of August or the first week of September more likely,” Busse said.

For the 2015 Paving Project, Busse said, “The paving will be completed in conjunction with the Spring Street Project.” The village is also working with Newberry Township on a patch on Ingle Road, Busse said.

Busse and Schmitmeyer also inspected the Broadway and High Street drainage tunnels under state routes 36 and 48 with a representative from the Miami County Engineer’s office. Schmitmeyer is working on a report for the council.

Next on the list was an update on street painting that is to be done, including painting the curbs. During public comment, Kathy Miller of Covington expressed concern about the appearance of the current curb markings. Busse remarked that her concern was a timely one due to the beginning of this project. “We haven’t done it since I’ve been here,” Busse said. “We’re starting it tomorrow.”

Busse then discussed the school water line.

“The water line initially had a leak at a pipe bell joint,” Busse said. According to Busse, the leak was located and repaired. The loop that it is a part of has reportedly passed pressure tests, and the village is finishing up bacteria testing for that line.

Busse’s final update was on the well field, stating that well #6 has been disinfected and flow tested.

“It has passed bacteria tests and is back in service,” Busse said. Moody’s, the contractor, is working on flow testing the other wells in the well field, Busse said.

On the order of old business, Covington Council approved amending the supplemental yard and height regulations of the village’s zoning regulations. Instead of fences or other structures in a yard being required to be placed back three feet from the property line, they can now be placed “adjacent to” the property line. For the regulations regarding the visibility at intersections, this ordinance limits the height of structures, plants, or anything else to two and half feet in a yard at an intersection. This limitation is to allow drivers to see oncoming traffic.

The following was also discussed during the council meeting:

  • The Fort Rowdy Gathering will be coming on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5-6
  • There will be a mile-long run the morning of the Fort Rowdy Gathering on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5, at 8:30 a.m.
  • Employee HAS contributions will be pro-rated for mid-term enrollees
  • The next council meeting will be held on Sept. 8 instead of Sept. 7 in observance of Labor Day
Approves pay request for Spring Street Project

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall