New Buildings in Ft. Wright Move Forward with Industrial Revenue Bonds
The building that will soon house VonLehman & Co. and other office space, will get a boost from industrial revenue bonds issued by the City of Ft. Wright.\
City Council approved the decision on Wednesday night after a presentation by Wessels Construction Company attorney Dick Spoor. The two new buildings at Wright Summit will be the fifth project in Northern Kentucky to use this financing method, following Newport on the Levee, Newport Aquarium, Lexus RiverCenter, and Aqua on the Levee.
“Industrial Revenue Bonds are a special technique in Kentucky that can be used by cities and counties to help incentivize development,” Spoor explained to Council. “The way it works is, the city owns titles to a project, leases it to the developer and issues bonds in conjunction with that lease. Even though the city owns the property, the developer is responsible for maintenance, construction, everything; it’s a complete net lease. What the city owns is nominal…it’s not a real city asset. The bonds are only payable by the developer under the lease. But by virtue of the ownership of the property, the city is exempt from property tax…That’s the way the statute is set up, the incentive is set up,” Spoor said, adding that the format hasn’t changed since the last building on the complex was constructed in 2008.
This will be discussed in further detail at the next meeting on November 4.
Also on Wednesday evening, council examined its nuisance code, which is designed to eliminate some of the city's issues with dead trees, overgrown grass, improper signage placed on poles, etc., City Attorney Todd McMurtry said. After meeting with several cities, Fort Wright plans to adopt some of the concepts within Erlanger’s code because it has dealt with many of the same issues in the past. It should be noted that nothing in the code was finalized and language within the document will be edited and revisited again at the next caucus meeting on November 18.
The city is renewing its insurance on December 1, the third year employees will dodge – for now – possibly higher premiums associated with the Affordable Care Act. “Policies that we (city employees) are eligible for under United Healthcare are considered grandfathered policies,” City Administrator Gary Huff said. If the city had chosen Aetna, Humana, or another insurance company, it would have faced an increase of 98-106%, Huff said. As it stands now, city employees will face a 10% increase, which will be addressed with the other upcoming healthcare changes eventually coming to the city at the next council meeting early next month.
Written by Jason Finnell, RCN contributor