Fort Wright has taken the first step towards eliminating the motor vehicle tax, just like Mayor Dave Hatter challenged his city to do in September.
“We have the lowest income tax in Kenton County and you are about to get a property tax cut to boot,” said Hatter at the September Fort Wright meeting. “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.”
Buoyed by Council’s success with the reduction of property taxes 6 1/2 percent, and personal taxes a little over 7 percent — the lowest since 2011 — Hatter asked attorney Tim Theissen to draw up an ordinance eliminating the motor vehicle tax so it could be read at the October meeting.
The ordinance was read for the first time last week, but even after the second reading in November Theissen said that the tax won’t be off the books until Jan. 1. That’s because other agencies have to register the change before it takes effect.
“The city of Fort Wright, on your car registration bill, has a special, separate tax,” Hatter said. “I am holding one in my hand here. You are paying a state tax, you’re paying a county tax, you’re paying a school tax, a library tax, a health tax, Extension service tax, Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, now known as PDS, tax, something called a Com tax, and then the city of Fort Wright.”
Hatter said it is different than the car sticker tax, which has come and gone in the past and is currently gone. The motor vehicle tax, he guessed, has hung around because nobody really realized it was a thing. He acknowledged that Fort Wright is one of the few cities in the Northern Kentucky area that still has the motor vehicle tax.
“Here’s an example,” Hatter said. “A car that is valued at $10,425 the city of Fort Wright got $20.61 off of that at a rate of .1977 per $100. So what you have before you is the first reading of an ordinance eliminating that tax.”
Councilmember Adam Feinauer said that the sticker tax was a flat fee, where people would pay $25 no matter how much their car was worth. The motor vehicle tax is based on the value of the car. He mentioned that car values have gone up steadily, and with the values of new cars, people can easily save $60 to $80 with the elimination of this tax.
“We are really blessed to be in this position, and put some money back in people’s pockets,” Hatter said. “This is almost the single most important thing we do all year. I’m just happy to be part of the team that has the vision to make these kind of cuts.”