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Thursday, September 24, 2020

No Property Tax Rate Increase This Year in Fort Thomas — and Trick or Treating Is on!

Trick or Treating is on for Halloween in Fort Thomas from 6 to 8p.m. on Saturday, October 31. Watch for details on additional celebration. Keep safe and have fun!

By Robin Gee, city council beat editor

Halloween (October 31) is happening in Fort Thomas, although it may not look exactly like it has in years past. The holiday falls on a Saturday this year. In normal times, that would be perfect timing for a big celebration, but this year cities are proceeding with caution. 

While plans for a Halloween themed event are underway, the decision has been made that trick or treating will happen from 6 to 8 p.m. in Fort Thomas.

Social distancing, avoiding large crowds and other safety precautions are encouraged. It is Halloween, so mask wearing should not bring much controversy, but, yes, masking up is also encouraged. 

Most of city council voted in favor of the move. Council member Ken Bowman abstained.

City staff is exploring possibilities for a special event that will replace the Jack-o-Lantern walk in the park. They are looking at a drive through event in Tower Park on the Friday before Halloween, but plans are still being ironed out. Watch the Fort Thomas city website for additional details. 

Welcome news for property owners

For the first time in decades, the city of Fort Thomas voted not to take the state’s recommended compensating tax rate plus an allowable four percent increase for the coming year. The tax rate will be frozen at the 2019 rate of $0.397 per $100 valuation of property.

At the September 21 meeting, council voted unanimously to hold the tax rate. With the impact of the COVID-19 and the uncertainty in the economy and people’s lives, members said they would not increase the tax burden for residents.

The city worked on a conservative budget for the coming year, but the initial budget had relied on taking the compensating rate plus the allowable four percent increase as the city has done most years.

At the June meeting to pass the 20-21 Fiscal Year budget, council member Mark Collier voted "no" to emphasize his concerns about increasing taxes at a time when so many residents and businesses were being impacted by the virus.

The city’s Finance Committee worked on the issue throughout the summer with an eye toward avoiding an increase. In August, they recommended not taking the usual increase, stating that the cautious budget and support from the federal CARES Act helped enable the city to forego the increase without causing much disruption with plans going forward.

Property tax bills will be mailed out according to the normal schedule. Payments can be dropped off at the city building, open during the week and on weekends throughout October. Times will be posted on the city website soon.

City administrator’s report

City Administrator Ron Dill reported on several ongoing city projects. The bottom line is that many are well on their way to completion this fall. 

Here’s a quick rundown: 

  • The Shelter Three project is nearing completion. The project includes the shelter itself as well as basketball court and parking lot resurfacing.
  • Resurfacing of parking areas around the Mess Hall are scheduled to be completed in October.
  • For the softball field in Tower Park, upgrade and fencing will also be completed in October

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