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Independence to Fund Road Work with Tax Increase; New Fire Chief Welcomed

The Independence City Council voted unanimously Monday evening  to move forward with the process to raise property taxes.

City Council is proposing an ad valorem tax on real property, at the rate of $0.271 for each $100.00 of value and an ad valorem tax on all personal property other than motor vehicles at the rate of $0.642 for each $100.00 of the value.

The move was supported by council citing that, with the tax increase, there would be a potential annual increase of the city’s revenue of $400,000, as explained by Mayor Reinersman after a concerned resident brought to light the fact that this rate increase is 6.69% higher than property tax rate paid last year.

Mayor Reinersman said the property tax hike comes after a city internal audit where it found that additional funds would be needed to ensure the proper upkeep of the city’s roads and infrastructure.  

There will be a third and final reading of the ordinance to increase property taxes at the next regular City Council meeting in October.

Council went on to welcome Scott Breeze as the new fire chief for the Independence Fire District after a lengthy recruitment and selection process. In describing his appreciation for the appointment, Breeze said, “We are excited about the direction we are moving in and I can’t say how thankful I am for how we have developed the department. If there is anything that you need from us, by all means, just ask.”

A budgeted plan for the city to hire a new police officer and to induct a new assistant police chief was affirmed Monday night as well.

Mayor Reinersman told the new police inductee, Adam Strine, that he will be a welcomed addition to the force.

It was a point he drove home as he read the oath and welcomed the new recruit during Monday’s swearing-in ceremony.

Moments later, Sgt. Lonaker, was sworn into his new position as Assistant Police Chief.

Independence also announced the start of the process to disband its code enforcement board, following in the footsteps of many Kenton County cities, and joining the Kenton County Joint Code Enforcement Board. The city introduced an ordinance which will give authority to the Kenton County Joint Code Enforcement Board jurisdiction of certain civil offenses.

Other municipalities who have done this are Kenton County, Crescent Springs, Crestview Hills, Fort Wright, Independence, Kenton Vale, Park Hills, Ryland Heights, Taylor Mill, and Villa Hills.

Written by K.A. Simpson, RCN contributor