COVINGTON — Village Attorney Frank Patrizio sought guidance from Covington Council on a mandatory revision to the village income tax ordinance during their meeting on Tuesday evening. Patrizio is in the process of drafting the new tax ordinance, and it has not yet been approved by the council.
The council appeared unanimously against taxing the unearned income of minors, which would allow the village to tax money given to minors or dividends minors received from owning stock.
“I’m not in favor of that,” council member Bud Weer said.
“I’m not, either,” council member Lois Newman said.
The village currently does not tax the earned income of minors.
The council also appeared to be against doing away with the 1.5 percent earned income tax credit for village residents who work outside of Covington. Instead of having to pay income taxes both where they work and where they live, the credit allows those residents to pay income taxes only in the city where they work.
“That’s a touchy one, one way or the other,” Patrizio said. “We currently allow you to take the full credit.”
“That’s something that a lot of communities are starting to a take a look at,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said. Busse explained that with a lack of state funding, municipalities are looking for ways to continue providing residents with the same services that they previously received under that funding. Busse stated that at some point, municipalities have to cut services or replace that funding.
“There’s got to be another way (to create revenue),” council member Scott Tobias said.
The other council members quietly agreed and decided to keep the tax credit. Weer asked if the council would be able to change the ordinance in the future if needed, and Patrizio said that they would.
The ordinance will need to be adopted by Dec. 1, and in effect by Jan. 1, 2016, or the village will not be able to collect income taxes for 2016.
On the order of new business, the council discussed allowing Busse to draft a letter authorizing broadcast of WOTVC Piqua Channel 5 in the village of Covington. Busse explained that Piqua City Manager Gary Huff approached Busse about having WOTVC Piqua Channel 5 broadcast in Covington due to an opening in the village’s cable access channels.
“It’s just another avenue to get information out,” Busse said. Covington would be able to post public notices on WOTVC Piqua Channel 5. Busse stated he believed that there would be no cost to doing this, but they would also see all of Piqua’s public notices.
“As long as it’s no cost, pursue it,” council member Joyce Robertson said.
The next three items on the agenda included sending assessments to the Miami County Auditor to add to property owners’ property taxes. The council approved waiving the three reading rule and then approved sending the Spring Street assessments, the 2015 sidewalk assessments, and 2015 nuisance abatement assessments to the county auditor.
“We’ve had many communications with everybody,” Busse said in regard to the Spring Street assessments and the 2015 sidewalk assessments. Busse explained that approximately half of the people involved in those assessments have already paid them.
“We have two abandoned properties where we continually mow the grass,” Busse said about the 2015 nuisance abatement assessments.
Next on the agenda, the council approved signing the certificate of substantial completion for the Spring Street project.
“I would consider it substantially complete at this point,” Brice Schmitmeyer of Access Engineering said.
“It looks really nice,” Newman said.
During Busse’s report, Busse explained, “VTF will be resuming seeding when the heat subsides.” Busse said that will probably be next week.
The council then approved the Wagner Paving pay request for Dick Minnich, Industrial Drive, and the village park for the amount of $40,210.89. Schmitmeyer said that amount came in at approximately $4,700 under the bid price for the paving project.
The council also approved the following items from their agenda:
- Allow Chief of Police Lee Harmon to dispose of surplus computer equipment
- Accept the resignation of Bill Westfall as the Village Fire Prevention Officer
- Approve the Tax Review Board appointments of Mayor Ed McCord as the board’s president and council members Bud Weer and Keith Warner as the members of the board
- Approve the closing of Spring Street between Pearl and Wall streets on Sept. 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Ham and Bean Dinner
- Approve the Homecoming parade route
Earlier in the meeting, the council also heard from Covington resident Jon Litchfield and his wife in regard to a request about putting up a fence. Litchfield and his wife needed approval from the council due to a 50-foot right-of-way owned by the village running through between their property and their garage.
“There’s some utilities (there),” Busse said about the right-of-way. “It was initially for a railroad line that ran through Covington.”
There is also a DP&L easement there, but the Litchfields presented a letter from DP&L stating that they did not have a problem with a fence being put there as long as they had access through the fence. Litchfield and his wife explained that the fence was going to be an easily removable vinyl fence.
The council approved the request on the condition that Busse draft a letter stating that Litchfield and his wife are putting up the fence at their own risk.
The council also heard from Busse on the Safe Routes to School Sidewalk Project during their meeting.
“Letters have been sent to affected property owners informing them of the project, and Briggs Creative Services is in the process of contacting each individual property owner and setting appointments to meet with them tentatively on Sept. 17,” Busse said.
Briggs Creative Services will meet with those residents on that day from 5-8 p.m. at the government center. They will also schedule different appointments for individual property owners who are not able to make it during that time.
Busse also discussed the sewer plant, explaining that Schmitmeyer and Busse will be meeting with CH2MHill on Sept. 15 to review the design.
“Then they will make requested modifications, and the design will be presented to the council,” Busse said. There will be a presentation about the sewer plant project in mid-October. The village is expected to fund the project with a combination of a low-interest loan and grant money.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall