Tax payers received a victory in Boone County Kentucky recently when the county Fiscal Court decided not to pursue the insurance premium tax that it had been suggesting they would to
pay for a new 911 dispatch system. With efforts led by County Commissioner Cathy Flaig and a social media information blitz by Aaron Gillum, the county has decided to not impose it.
While this is a great victory it is now leaving the county with limited options to increase revenue and fund a new 911 system. One of the items they are going to look at is imposing a “dwellings” tax on apartment owners and their reasoning is that apartment renters tend to use more 911 services than others and this would be a fair way to generate the revenue. The amount of tax they are initially talking about is astronomical, as it’s being projected to be to the tune of $80 - $90 dollars per unit per year.
Recently Campbell County passed the same tax to the tune of $45 per apartment dwelling per year and Kenton county is looking at and getting ready to pass a similar tax of $65 dollars per unit per year. Keep in mind all these taxes are absurdly high and putting them on apartment owners because renters “use more 911” services is a crock but let’s assume they do how could Boone County be potentially projecting something that is double than that Campbell County has already passed?
The problem is they don’t exactly know what the system is going to fully cost, or at least that is what they claim, yet when they originally, we’re wanting to put the insurance tax in place they we’re building in a surplus budget for other county capital projects. So, if they knew they we’re wanting a surplus budget for other capital projects then surely, they must know what the system is going to cost right?
So now that the insurance tax is defeated the county will turn to what the public presumes to be “rich landlords” to fund the system because who cares about apartment owners! They will attempt to put it on the backs of landlords on top of all the other taxes and fees we already pay in hopes to pass it through, build up their capital budget and move on. The problem is the apartment owners will not take this lightly and will not just pay the cost and be happy. Ultimately what will happen is this will be passed down to the renters themselves who live in the apartments and push their rents up. A lot of renters, not all but a lot, are on fixed incomes or live pay check to pay check so all this is going to do is increase their already strained living budgets.
So now you have to pose the question, are the county leaders and the ones fighting to end these taxes only looking out for those residents and voters who are property owners or are they looking out for the rights of ALL voters, including those who rent because if this new Dwellings tax is passed and these fees imposed all they did was shift the burden of responsibility of this new 911 system from property owners to renters, and last time I checked renters are citizens too and they have a vote just like everyone one else. It seems to be the real solution would be for the county to be more responsible with this, figure out what is needed for it and maybe do a little better with the money already coming in and then decide a fair and balanced way to spread the cost to its citizenry and businesses