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City council rejects possible 4-percent tax increase plan

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By Molly Haines

The Owenton City Council recently rejected a plan to accept a 4-percent tax increase for the compensating rate, but officials say taxes would have gone down either way.
At its Oct. 1 meeting, the council held a first reading of an ordinance establishing tax rates for 2013.
In the first reading of the ordinance, tax rates were set at 0.2900 for every $100 of real property; 0.2280 on every $100 worth of personal property and 0.2829 on every $100 worth of vehicles.
During a special meeting Friday for the purpose of holding a second reading on the ordinance and adopting the 2013 tax rates, the council voted to take the compensating rate.
The real property rate was levied at 0.2790 for every $100; 0.2200 on every $100 worth of personal property and 0.2829 for every $100 worth of vehicles.
Had the council proceeded with the 4-percent increase, the rate would have also been lower than last year’s real-property rate of 0.2920 after assessments went up following a survey of city boundaries that took in one business and 19 houses on Hwy. 22 West, Cull Road and Elmer Davis Lake Road.
West said the boundaries had never been certified with the state until surveyed in 2012.
David Spatholt, a public administrations specialist with the Northern Kentucky Area Development District, said although the 4-percent rates would have been lower than the 2012 rates, the council would have needed to hold a public hearing and advertise the 4-percent increase before adopting them because the rates would have generated more revenue than in 2012.
In Friday’s meeting, Owenton Mayor Doug West said someone from NKADD gave city hall “bad information” regarding a public hearing and advised that because the 4-percent increase would have been lower than the 2012 rates, a hearing and advertisements weren’t necessary.
West said after going back and reading more information on setting tax rates, he found that a public hearing would have needed to be held, advertised for two weeks or letters notifying residents would need to be sent out one time.
Spatholt said he did not personally advise city hall on the public hearing and advertisements and declined to comment on whether someone else within the agency had.
In other city council action, a first reading was held on an ordinance pertaining to yard sales within the city limits.
If approved following a second reading, each location or property will be limited to two different yard sales per year. The yard sales may not last more than three consecutive days.
Signs advertising yard sales may not be placed on public or private property without consent of the owner. Within 24 hours after the conclusion of a sale, all signs must be removed.
All yard sales will be on the owner’s property and only the property owner or tenant will conduct a yard sale on that property. Multi-family sales will be permitted.
Non-profit organizations and clubs would be exempt from the ordinance. The U.S. 127 Yard Sale would also be exempt.
If the ordinance is approved upon a second reading, violators of the ordinance would be deemed a misdemeanor and fined no less than $50 and no more than $250.
The ordinance would not become final until two weeks of advertisement.
West said yard sales were left out of updates to the city’s panning and zoning laws in June 2012, but feels the ordinance needs to stand on its own.