Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Kenton property valuator retires

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - After 26 years in office, Kenton County Property Value Administrator Mark Vogt, who has held the job since he was 24, retired Friday.

Vogt was not available for comment Monday but employees at the county PVA's office said he had reached the required number of years as a state employee to retire.

As of Monday, John Peters of Greenup County, an employee with the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet, was serving as interim PVA. State law dictates that when a PVA leaves the office other than through an election, the position must be filled temporarily by a Revenue Cabinet employee.

But also helping run the office will be Vogt's long-time deputy, Merrick Krey, 49, who has worked in the office for 25 years, including 15 as chief deputy.

Gov. Paul Patton is required to fill the seat with an appointment made through his office. Only those candidates who pass a state-required test dealing with assessing property and other topics are eligible for the appointment. The test is scheduled to be given - most likely in Frankfort - on Feb. 21.

Krey, an Edgewood Democrat, said Monday he would take the test. "Mark did an excellent job over the years," Krey said Monday. "I'm very proud of being able to have worked with him these last 25 years. He taught me a lot and we worked well together. I hope to continue to serve the public in the same way this office has been run for the past 26 years."

Kenton County Republican Party Chairman said at least three Republicans, among them Covington City Commissioner Craig Bohman, have also indicated to him they plan to take the test.

In typical cases when the governor is asked to make an appointment to fill a county office, the Democratic and Republican parties from that county submit names of potential candidates for the governor's consideration. Though Patton, a Democrat, can choose someone from either party to fill the seat, he has in past usually chosen Democrats for appointments.

The appointee would serve until the next general election in November and would then have to win the seat to fill out the remaining three years of Vogt's term. Vogt was unopposed in the November election.

Hired by the county PVA office in 1975 Vogt, 50, became PVA in 1977. The PVA is charged with assessing the value of property for tax purposes and maintaining information on real estate.

In Kenton County the PVA is responsible for assessments for 20 cities, five school districts, six fire districts, four special taxing districts and the unincorporated areas of the county.

As of last year the office had about 20 full- and part-time employees and an annual budget of $1.5 million. In 1998 the Kenton County PVA's office was one of the first in Kentucky to go online with real estate information on the Internet.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com

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