COVINGTON — Village officials in Covington plan to beef up their clout in collecting delinquent income taxes if the Ohio Attorney General takes over the process to track down funds due the village.
On Tuesday, the village council heard the first reading of a resolution that would turn over collection of back local taxes to the state office. Two more public readings of the measure are planned during the next two council meetings.
There will be no cost to the village for the service, but not so for those owing such taxes.
Village Administrator Mike Busse said the state attorney general would be targeting delinquent taxpayers who have been “non-responsive” to multiple attempts to collect the due taxes. The move would not affect those with unpaid local taxes for the current (2016) tax payment year.
Council member Joyce Robertson asked if the process would allow the state officials to direct current state refunds to the village instead of going to those listed as delinquent to pay the back taxes. Busse indicated that was indeed the case, but only involving state tax refunds.
Busse reported the state will add 10 percent to the delinquent amount to cover their collection costs.
An eyesore property allegedly considered to be a safety hazard has now entered litigation. Councilmen were advised to hold off taking any action on the removal of the property at 137 N. High St., until the course of legal action has played out.
Busse reported Village Solicitor Frank Patrizio, who was not at the council meeting, had indicated to him the Miami County Health Board is prosecuting owner John E. Longenecker of Laura regarding the property. Patrizio instructed Busse to recommend council not to award any demolition contracts until the matter is settled.
Council took no action on the property.
The village previously deemed the property “structurally unsafe and a hazard.” Neighbors addressed council at prior meetings to discuss how the house has damaged their homes. According to those residents, the property is leaning on their homes and causing damage to their properties.
In December, bids were open from contractors to clear the property. Busse reported M& T Excavating had the best bid, which was $24,704, which included an approximately $11,000 asbestos mitigation.
Sidewalk replacement, annual goals set
Also, council unanimously waived the three readings and instructed Busse to advertise for bids for the 2017 sidewalk replacement program. The bids are not to exceed $50,000.
Busse reported 16 properties will receive sidewalk, curb, and approach improvements through the project. Selected properties are located at 106 and 110 S. Pearl St.; 314, 318 and 322 S. Pearl St.; and 504, 512, 520 and 532 S. High St.
Also, council accepted a list of goals for 2017 regarding all departments.
Busse reported the first phase construction of a new ultra violet light disinfectant pumping station at the wastewater plant should be completed. The project is an estimated $1.3 million.
Workers are also expected to upgrade the South End lift station with lift pumps and a new control panel and the School lift station a new control panel; and add telemetry to the Broadway lift station. The projects will be funded with a zero percent loan of $150,000.
The village also plans to purchase a new police cruiser at an estimated cost of $45,000 payable over three years.
From the Street Fund, a street resurfacing plan is in place. Busse reported grinding and repaving will occur along Debra Street from Chestnut to Broad; Chestnut Street from Debra to Wenrick; and Ullery Street from Chestnut to Broadway.
In other business, council:
• Appointed Scott Tobias as council president for 2017.
• Passed a resolution to purchase property from Covington Exempted Village School District located at Grant and Maple streets. A small area containing a public basketball court and recreation area was purchased for $1.
• Accepted with regret the resignation of custodian Tyler Harvey effective immediately. Busse reported Harvey resigned to pursue educational opportunities.
• Heard Mayor Ed McCord had appointed four people to local positions. He named Bud Weer and Lois Newman to the Volunteer Firefighters Dependents Fund, Keith Warner to the Planning and Zoning committee, and Carl Reck to the zoning board of appeals.
• Set the quarterly meeting dates for the planning and zoning meetings. They were set for Feb. 15, May 17, Aug. 16, and Nov. 15 starting at 7 p.m.
• Approved the regular council meetings for the first and third Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. It was noted the next council meeting would be held Tuesday, Jan. 17, due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday on that Monday.