Kenton Mayors Hear Legislative Updates on 911 Funding, SD1 Taxes
The Kenton County Mayors Group got an update about the General Assembly session courtesy of J.D. Chaney from the Kentucky League of Cities. The monthly meeting, which rotates locations around the county, was held at Covington City Hall on Saturday.
Chaney said that because the Democrats' hold on the House of Representatives is in peril and because Republicans are targeting a takeover of that body in the November elections, KLC did not expect a productive session.
These are some of the updates provided by Chaney:
Storm Water Billing
Sanitation District 1 General Council Brian Ellerman said that House Bill 245 would affect the way the utility taxes use of storm sewers and would provide other restrictions. It is sponsored by Reps. Joe Fischer (R-Ft. Thomas), Tom Kerr (R-Taylor Mill), Brian Linder (R-Dry Ridge), Sal Santoro (R-Florence), Diane St. Onge (R-Lakeside Park), and Addia Wuchner (R-Florence).
“The way it's written, it would affect SD1's ability to charge a storm water fee. We charge for the maintenance of the systems that we took over from various cities,” Ellerman said. “Our transfer agreement says that if something legislatively affects our ability to do that, then we have the right to send that infrastructure back, so it is an important issue for the cities.”
Ellerman said that he heard that the bill would be before committee on Wednesday at noon.
Emergency 911 Calls
House Bill 214, sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger) deals with the 911 emergency call collection fees from landline service to the more common wireless service providers. The issue developed over time due to the decrease in landlines that are used in Kentucky and across the United States. Historically, the emergency 911 service was funded by imposing a monthly subscriber fee per land line telephone. Recently, Campbell County replaced the landline fee with a $45 service fee for every unit occupied in the County.
Apartment owners sued the Fiscal Court over the change, but the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld Campbell County's decision.
The new bill updates terms and definitions to allow local governments to collect 911 fees from telematics service connections, CMRS service connections, and VoIP service connections. Chaney said that the state is working with providers on the new definitions and retailers are not in favor of the changes.
Senate Bill 166 would permit a restaurant tax on gross receipts which could then be put back into city revenues rather than going in full to the local tourism commissions. Under this proposal, only 25 percent of the money raised through this tax would go to the tourism commissions while 75 percent would go to the city. In the past, tourism boards would spend this money on advertisements like billboards and pamphlets.
If the bill passes, the consumption tax money could be spent on infrastructure in cities.
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor
Photo: Frankfort, KY