City to levy compensating tax rate

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Total revenue expected to increase by $30,500

By Leslie Moore

Residents who live in the Campbellsville tax district are unlikely to see much difference in their tax bills this year.

At Campbellsville City Council's regular meeting on Tuesday, the Council had first reading of an ordinance setting a compensating tax rate of .193 cents per $100 of real and personal property value.

This is the sixth time the Council has opted for the compensating tax rate, which is a rate set to generate the same amount of revenue as the previous fiscal year.

This year's tax rate will generate a projected $927,324.88 in revenue, an increase of $30,544.06 from last year. According to Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young, the extra revenue is because of increased property values.

The Council could have increased taxes to generate up to four or more percent of revenue. A rate that would have produced 4-percent more would have generated an additional $64,100.

But according to Young, the city is operating within its budget and he says, therefore, a tax increase at this time is unnecessary.

Councilman Randy Herron said choosing the compensating rate is a responsible decision because residents will already be paying more taxes because the Campbellsville and Taylor County School districts have increased their tax rates.

Councilman Stan McKinney said a 4-percent revenue increase would be a significant amount of money.

"We have done everything in our power, I think, to keep taxes as low as possible and still balance the budget," McKinney said.

Councilman Dave Nunery said he isn't a person who advocates tax increases just for the sake of doing so. However, he said if the Council had set a rate to produce a 4-percent increase, the tax rate would only increase by 8/1,000ths of a cent, and would cost the average homeowner an extra $10 per year.

"The only thing that concerns me about this is that we're not keeping pace with the inflation that we utilize in wages and insurance and fuel and the other significant expenses we have in the community," Nunery said. "There may come a day when we have some tough choices to make about where we seek additional revenue for our community."

Nunery said under Young's leadership, the city is operating smoothly and is in good shape financially. But he said the Council should consider the future.

"[Four percent is] a very small increase, but over time, it could make a significant difference in our community," Nunery said.

McKinney said while he agrees with Nunery that a tax increase would bring financial benefits to the city, the city shouldn't increase taxes if it can function well without it. He said the city also has its occupational tax, which increases in revenue when taxpayers' wages go up.

Councilman Paul Osborne said he is very much for collecting only the revenue the city needs when it needs it.

"I think it's unwise to try to bankroll money that you don't need at the moment," Osborne said. "It's extremely difficult, if not impossible, for that money to sit there idle until we need it two years down the road, three years down the road or whenever. It's just almost impossible. Some way, some how, it gets used. Some way, some how it gets spent."

City Clerk Cary Noe said getting tax bills prepared and mailed out is a lengthy process and requested the Council have a special meeting to give final approval to the tax rate as soon as possible.

A special meeting for final approval of the compensating tax rate is today at 6 p.m. in the City Council meeting room above Campbellsville Police Department. The meeting is open to the public.

For more from Tuesday's meeting, see Monday's issue.