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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Fort Thomas Street Tax Hearing Tonight, 3-22-16

FTM file. 
The public hearing for citizens to address Fort Thomas city officials will take place tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the council chambers in the Fort Thomas City Building.

In Fort Thomas, residents are taxed a special assessment when the street in front of their home is repaired and resurfaced. A public advertisement was made and affected home owners have been notified, however any Fort Thomas resident can address council about the city's annual practice.

RELATED: 2015 Public Hearing for Street Tax

The city keeps a short list of street that are in most need of repair. The Public Works Committee meets in February, then discusses the plan for the coming year. This year, Barrett Drive, Daisy Lane, Gaddis Dr, Haywood Ct and Winding Way are the proposed streets to be repaired.

Residents are charged a special tax after the work is complete based upon how many linear feet their property abuts with the street on a 50% city, 50% resident cost share. Heavier trafficked streets are assessed 60/40, with the resident paying less.

RELATED: 2016 Public Works Street Plan

It's possible that neighbors who live next door to one another could pay an amount that varies in cost by thousands of dollars. Those numbers vary by a number of factors including, lot size (corner lots vs. regular lots) the length and width of the street, number of intersections or curb height.

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The city offers financing for neighbors who can't afford to pay out the full amount of the tax, which can be quite substantial. For example, last year the average resident on E. Southgate was estimated to pay $626.54, which was the lowest average of the five streets repaired. The average street tax each resident paid on Burnett Ridge was $3,157.21.

The Public Works Committee is chaired by Councilman, Ken Bowman. Committee members include Jeff Bezold and John Muller. 

Last year, momentum seemed to build to replace this method of street assessments, with a franchise fee, which most other Kentucky cities utilize. City Administrator Ron Dill, who took over for Don Martin in October 2015, noted recently that reopening the discussion of franchise fees wasn't an initiative this year undertaken by the city council.

Bowman said that franchise fee funding requires careful and time-consuming evaluation. "I think the conversation should happen again about alternative funding," said Bowman.

Streets up for consideration in 2017 include Custis Ave., Washington Ave., LaFayette Ave., Waterworks Road, Lilac Lane, Highview and Diana Court.

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