The Ft. Wright city council voted to lower both property and personal, or tangible, tax rates. The tax rates were the main topic of the regular council meeting last week.
“The current rate for real property, things like your home, is 0.265 (per $100 of assessed value) and it has been 0.265 for the last couple of years, and the current tax rate on personal property, cars, boats, etcetera, is 0.409, and it’s been 0.409 for many years, four or five years, it has pretty much held steady for a long time,” Mayor Dave Hatter began. “I believe what myself and the finance committee want to recommend tonight is a reduction in the property tax rate from 0.265 to 0.248, and a reduction of personal property tax from 0.409 to 0.380.”
He said it is roughly a 6.5 percent reduction in the property tax rate and just a little over 7 percent reduction in the personal property tax rate.
Councilman Bernie Wessels thanked the council’s finance committee and the city’s administrative staff for its work on the issue.
“We have plenty of cash in the bank in case we miss the mark a little bit,” Wessels said.
Councilman Jay Weber, who serves on the finance committee with Councilman Dave Abeln, agreed, saying they were in a position to do this because of the city’s leaders, and police and fire departments, as well as public works all trying to keep costs in line.
Council voted approval of the tax rates unanimously, in a first reading of the ordinance. A second reading will be required to make it official.
“This is an actual tax cut,” Hatter explained. “We have substantial financial reserves, and we are in the best shape we’ve ever been in.”
Hatter said that despite national inflation, the city will be able to maintain the services that the residents are used to.
“We have the lowest income tax in Kenton County and you are about to get a property tax cut to boot,” said Hatter. “So if you are a business, and you want to put some money back in your pocket this is the place to be folks, right here.”
Wessels said they want to discuss further reductions, starting with a change in the vehicle tax. Another tax they want to discuss is the insurance tax, he said.
Mayor Hatter agreed, going so far as to ask City Attorney Tim Theissen to draw up an ordinance eliminating the vehicle tax so it could be read for the first time at the October meeting.
“It will probably be written so that starting January first it would come off the books,” said Hatter. “And the tax rate, this is the lowest it has been since 2011. It won’t be official until the next regular council meeting in October.”