The Red Bank commissioners voted Tuesday night to adopt the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget that includes a property tax increase. Mayor John Roberts said that along with the increase in both commercial and residential development, comes increased traffic. Infrastructure has not kept up with the growth, including the secondary roads. The cost of paving these roads is $1 million. Money from the State Street Aid fund will be used to pay half of that amount and $500,000 will come from the property tax increase.
The tax rate will increase 20 cents. The current rate of $1.19 will increase to $1.39 per $100 of assessed value. This means that the property tax on a $150,000 house will increase by $75 a year.
The city has been hurt financially by the State Improvement Act which has reduced the amount of state sales tax that the city receives, said the mayor. Additionally, revenue from the hall Tax is being phased out. The new budget is flat, he said, with no pay increases and no acquisitions. The public works department will receive 80 percent of the entire budget.
An amendment to the 2018 budget was also passed. Budgets are a living document, said City Manager Randall Smith. The best estimates on expenses are made each year, he said, but at year’s end, a budget amendment is the way actual cost overages are adjusted.
Mr. Smith reported that Norfolk Southern Railway is currently working on signalization at East Midvale Road. Smoke testing the sewer system by WWTA is continuing and the Kids Corner Park is now almost 95 percent complete.
The phone system in the Red Bank City Hall was installed during construction of the building, said the city manager, and is so old that replacement parts are now unavailable. A resolution that passed Tuesday night authorizes an agreement between the city and EPB Fiber Optics for hosted telephone and high speed Internet connection services. This will allow the city to upgrade services not only in city hall, but also for the public works, police and fire departments.
The commissioners also adopted the Hamilton County Disaster Debris Management Plan. This has been put in place prior to the occurrence of a natural disaster such as a tornado. The city is responsible for cleaning up and disposing of debris that may be left behind which may require contract workers and overtime pay for city employees. This plan will allow the city to be reimbursed for the work by FEMA.
Three vehicles received by the police department during the year were declared as surplus property, which will authorize listing them for sale on govdeals.com.
Three Red Bank homeowners came to the commission meeting to ask again for short term rentals such as Airbnb to be prohibited, fearing security issues. A suggestion was made for them to be treated the same as other businesses such as requiring licensing and taxing. Mayor Roberts assured them that the city is looking at every possibility to limit the practice, but options are limited due to a recent law passed at the state level. Discussion about short term rentals will take place at the July 3 commission meeting.