EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of a two-part series covering the Covington Council meeting held on Monday, Nov. 2. Part two will be in the Thursday edition of the Daily Call.
COVINGTON — Covington Mayor Ed McCord served as the tie-breaker for a decision regarding the purchase of property located on High Street for the purpose of adding parking spaces for downtown, voting in favor of buying the property for $15,000. Council members Doris Beeman, Lois Newman, and Joyce Robertson voted against the purchase during their meeting on Monday evening. Council members Scott Tobias, Bud Weer, and Keith Warner voted for the purchase.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking on this,” McCord said. McCord explained that he had Covington Chief of Police Lee Harm go down High Street from Bridge Street to 36 and back to count the total parking spaces available.
“There are 94 parking spots down High Street,” McCord said. “As mayor, my major concern is the fact that in four years or so … we all know we want to redo High Street. What I don’t want to see happen is our businesses dry up and die.”
McCord called the businesses “proactive,” explaining that they wanted to see Covington and Covington’s downtown area grow.
“I really believe that our downtown is directly connected to the growth of our village,” McCord said. “If our downtown dries up, I really believe that our property values will severely drop. We’ve got to have parking.”
McCord stated that Harmon and he counted 22 parking spots outside of and to the north of the municipal building, including handicapped parking spots. The new parking lot next door will add eight more spots as well.
“Thirty spots,” McCord said. “That’s one-third of 94. That’s not enough. Those 10 spots down there give us 40 (parking spots), which gives us roughly half of the number of spots we have on the street.”
McCord also mentioned that he spoke with business owners in the downtown to get their opinion on the matter.
“When I talked to our businesses, there’s a tremendous concern about if people can’t park, they can’t go through our businesses, they can’t come in,” McCord said. “I do not want our businesses to die.”
McCord reiterated that he spent much time thinking on the purchase.
“We don’t have to own it forever,” McCord said. “We already have $17,000 in equity in it.”
McCord finished with explaining it was a hard choice to make.
“I’m going to vote in favor of purchasing the parking lot,” McCord said.
For the other item of old business on the council’s agenda, the council approved the ordinance revising the village’s income tax regulations.
“This does not change our income tax rates,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said. “There (are) some regulations we had to change.”
Busse mentioned that there may be changes that may increase or decrease the amount people are paying in incomes taxes. Busse then stated that the intent was to pass these income tax regulations because the state of Ohio mandated the changes. If the council did not pass them, the village would not be able to collect income taxes for next year.
Robertson asked if Busse knew of an example that might increase someone’s income taxes.
Busse stated he was unsure and that Covington was already following many of the regulations the state mandated. Busse stated that people in other communities may see changes in their taxes, though.
“The majority of changes that we made here … were made by the state of Ohio,” Busse said.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall