COVINGTON — Covington Council approved a resolution that will allow residents to vote on a 2.5-mill tax levy that would provide a dedicated revenue stream solely for the village’s fire and emergency medical services (EMS).
The unanimous vote approved sending the tax levy to the Miami County Board of Elections to be placed on the November ballot.
The 2.5-mill tax levy would be for five years. According to the council’s resolution, the county auditor certified that the total current tax valuation of the village is $39,738,600. The 2.5-mill tax levy would generate approximately $99,346 annually if the current tax valuation stays the same.
The village currently funds its fire and EMS services through its general fund. Village Administrator Mike Busse previously explained that revenue streams to the general fund have gone down since the elimination of local government funds from the state and the elimination of inheritance taxes.
Covington Fire and Rescue is also going to 24-hour staffing. With staff being on station, the response time is around two minutes and 12 seconds. With volunteers responding from their homes, the response time is around six minutes and 11 seconds. Volunteers are currently putting in around 60 hours per week for Covington Fire and Rescue, mostly in the evenings and overnight.
Covington Fire and Rescue also has some aging equipment in need of replacing, including a 20-year-old ambulance. The other ambulance is seven years old, and the village wants to begin setting aside funds for its replacement. Fire equipment, such as the replacement of gear, hoses, and other equipment, is also an annual and ongoing expense to the village.
This issue is not unique to Covington. The city of Piqua faced the same issue November 2014, when they passed a safety services levy, which was an income tax increase of 0.25 percent, with the funds going solely to Piqua’s police and fire departments.
The council also approved making the intersection of Chestnut and Steven streets a four-way stop. “It seems to make sense for the safety of the kids to make it a four-way stop,” Busse said.
While the drive into the school will be a one-way, the village decided to make the intersection a four-way stop for the occasional person who does not realize that the drive is a one-way.
The council also held the first reading of a resolution to levy a special assessment for the purpose of paying the cost of lighting the streets in Covington for next year.
“We’ve had this one on the books for many years,” Mayor Ed McCord said.
The cost levied will be $45,000, and it has been that same amount for the past two years.
For the last item of business, the council approved the event Molly’s Mile to take place in the village.
Taking place on Sept. 3, at the Eagles, 715 E. Broadway in Covington, the run commemorates Molly Murphy, a Covington drowning victim who passed away in May 2015. According to runsignup.com, “Her parents, Kerry and Sarah of Covington, started a foundation in her honor to help parents who have lost their children with burial expenses and tombstones. Other children’s charities may also receive donations from the Molly Murphy Unicorn Foundation as well.”
Registration begins at 8 a.m. There will be a pancake and sausage breakfast as well as a silent auction between 9-11 a.m. after the run. Registration is also currently open on runsignup.com.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336