Covington cuts property tax 17 percent

New rate likely a historical low

COVINGTON, Ky. –  Covington officials have sharply cut the rate at which the City taxes real property to its lowest point in modern history.

After freezing the rate for five years in a row, the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night voted to slice it by 17 percent.

 The new rate translates to $2.71 per each $1,000 in assessed value of real estate, down from the $3.27 rate that’s been constant since the 2017 calendar year. For example, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $271 for the year in City property taxes, compared to $327 the year before.

On a historical basis, the new rate is just a little over a third of what it was in the mid-1970s.

“The tax rate has never been lower,” City Manager Ken Smith told the Commission.

Covington also lowered its personal property tax rate from 0.349 to 0.328.

Tax bills will be sent out Sept. 15.

Based on current information, the new real property rate would place Covington in the bottom of the pack among Kenton County cities, given that half of those cities also have separate and additional ad valorem assessments for street repairs, recreation, and fire/EMS. Covington has none of those separate assessments.

The decrease was possible because the total worth of real property in the City increased dramatically since last year, from $3.16 billion to $3.85 billion, interim Finance Director Jerome Heist said.

“In my 22 years here at the City, I’ve never seen an increase that large,” Heist said.

The increase was tied to three things: new construction in the City, dramatic increases in the housing market, and a reassessment of property values conducted by the office of the Kenton County Property Valuation Administrator, which is scheduled every four years.

Those reassessments explain why not every individual homeowner – despite the Commission’s decision -- will see a corresponding 17 percent decrease in their tax bill, Mayor Joe Meyer said.

“Let me just explain a fact of life to everybody: Not everybody is going to get a tax cut,” the mayor said. “There are those who will be paying more because their assessment has gone up – but they will not be paying as much as they would have under the previous tax rate.”

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