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Villa Hills Looks to Variety of Tax Increases to Improve City Roads

Villa Hills City Council held a special meeting on Wednesday night where two taxes were raised in order to generate enough revenue to reach the $700,000 mark the city needs to re-pave its streets over the next 20 years.

Those tax increases were the first in a sequence of funding mechanisms in play that would ultimately be decided by Villa Hills residents at the ballot box.

It was passed unanimously to raise the insurance premium tax from 7% to 10%, and the payroll tax from 1% to 1.5%. Then, later this year, if voted on by the residents, the insurance premium tax of 10% would be repealed all the way back to 5% while simultaneously invoking a property tax of 6.7 cents for every $100 of assessed property value.

“The option for the citizen is that you choose to pay for it either through payroll tax revenues and at the same time putting that on your insurance premium, or removing the insurance premium portion of it and taking it back to five percent and then having it as a property tax which you can tax deduct and for our senior citizens, we will have an exemption for 65 an older. That will be on the ballot, that will be the residents’ choice to see how they want to be able to fund their roads,” said Councilman Scott Ringo.

On a $100,000 home, the property tax would be about $67 a year with a rate of 0.67%.

Everyone on the council agreed that the math involved in the tax proposal needs to be communicated in a clear fashion and because of this, multiple public hearings are expected to be organized prior to the vote.   

Councilwoman Mary Koenig raised concerns about transparency after the number on the insurance premium tax was raised from 9 during the first reading to 10 percent without her being aware.

"I don’t want to go back to that time to where things are done in a council meeting and then we get to a special meeting and it’s all changed and no one is aware of it.  I don’t want to go back to that time to when this city did that,” she said. 

It was explained that the estimation in the first reading was for $650,000, but after the city met with engineer Dave Whitaker and he gave his estimate of the work needed, that number had reached $700,000 which required the extra percentage point in order to fund.

“Everything that has been done in the past, it’s never complete. It’s been halfway there and why make that mistake again?,” asked Councilman Gary Wauguman. 

City Attorney Mary Ann Stewart said that it isn’t uncommon for figures to change from one reading to the second and that the discussion portion before each vote is in place to prevent misinformed votes.

There was also a first reading of the submission of the ballot question pertaining to the upcoming vote on the issue, asking whether voters would support a special road tax of 7.5 cents per $100 of valuation on the assessed value of all property within the city and repeal three ordinances simultaneously. 

The city plans on further explanation to its residents in the upcoming public hearings. 

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor

Photo via Google