Ox­ford raises mil­lage rate

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

The Ox­ford City Coun­cil of­fi­cially ap­proved rais­ing its mil­lage rate Mon­day to 7.85 to off­set de­clin­ing prop­erty val­ues.

The city has raised its mil­lage rate – known col­lo­qui­ally as the prop­erty tax rate – each of the past five years, start­ing from 5.33 in 2008 and in­creas­ing to 7.6 last year, while its tax di­gest – the value of all land, build­ings and ve­hi­cles in the city – has de­clined from $29.75 mil­lion in 2008 to $15.32 mil­lion in 2013.

The coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved the in­crease, which is known as the roll­back rate and is de­signed to keep prop­erty tax rev­enues the same year to year to ac­count for ei­ther prop­erty value in­creases or de­creases.

The coun­cil had been sched­uled to vote at a meet­ing last week, but didn’t have a quo­rum and moved the meet­ing to Mon­day, said City Clerk Lauran Wil­lis.

Even with the in­crease, Ox­ford will still col­lect $7,060 less in prop­erty taxes than last year, ac­cord­ing to city doc­u­ments; the city will col­lect a to­tal of $120,316 in prop­erty taxes in the 2013-2014 bud­get year.

The ma­jor­ity of the city’s bud­get, $2.47 mil­lion, comes from its sales of elec­tric­ity. The city trans­fers $787,141 from the elec­tric­ity fund to its gen­eral op­er­at­ing fund and its cap­i­tal projects fund. The

city of Cov­ing­ton is sim­i­lar in that it sub­si­dizes its bud­get with sales of elec­tric­ity and gas as op­posed to col­lect­ing more in prop­erty tax rev­enues.

Ox­ford Mayor Jerry Rose­berry pre­vi­ously said the city has used the roll­back rate as far back as he can re­mem­ber, though he didn’t know if the city used it when prop­erty val­ues were in­creas­ing.

How­ever, the city also passed a $10,000 home­stead ex­emp­tion years ago, which re­duces the tax bills of home­own­ers who have their pri­mary homes in Ox­ford.

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