Saturday, June 16, 2001

Sidewalk tax gets nixed

Assessment lacked support in Loveland

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — Businesses in the city's refurbished historic district will not be taxed to pay for sidewalks.

        City Council approved a resolution Tuesday not to assess business owners because only about 12 percent of businesses signed a petition supporting the assessments.

        City Manager Fred Enderle said the city needed 51 percent of the businesses to approve the petition before council can adopt an ordinance by a simple majority.There are 14 property owners involved; some said they didn't want sidewalks to begin with.

        “The city's just picking up the cost of doing the improvements,” Mr. Enderle said.

        The sidewalk improvements, which totaled $428,000, were completed earlier this year. Assessments are typically approved before a project begins, Mr. Enderle said. In this case, there was change in city administration while the project proceeded, which may have hindered the process, he said.

        Mr. Enderle recommended to council that the businesses be assessed $7,500, spread over a 20-year period, to repay $65,800 in city funds that were used to install the sidewalks as part of the beautification project.

        The city used a similar plan for the first phase of the project to create a public-private partnership and leverage state block grant dollars.

        That part of the project was completed in 1997, and eight businesses were assessed $10,000 each, Mr. Enderle said.

        The city received $140,000 in state funds, about a third of the cost.

        Ron Rolke, owner of Rolke Brothers Supply, 122 Mill St., opposed the assessment for the sidewalks, saying the improvements have not meant more business for him.

        “It's an improvement for the city as a whole, but not my business because I have no walk-in traffic,” he said.


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