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Residents likely won’t see an increase in their city property tax bills this year.
During a special meeting on Monday night, Campbellsville City Council members had first reading of an ordinance that keeps the city’s real and personal property rates the same as last year at 19.2 and 17.9 cents per $100 assessed value, respectively.
Though last year’s rates were 19.1 and 18.1 cents, the differences in property value will produce about the same revenue as last year, at $5,000 more revenue for the new property located in the city limits.
Council members were presented with three options, including taking no increase or raising the rate to increase revenue by 2 or 4 percent.
Law allows rates that would increase revenue by 4 percent without being subject to voter recall. A rate increasing revenue by 4 percent requires a public hearing.
Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young said he wants to hear Council members’ thoughts on what rate the city should set.
Council members David Nunery, Patti Phillips, Randy Herron, Terry Keltner and Vicki Mullins did not attend the meeting.
City Clerk Cary Noe said the city’s revenue will increase a bit this year even if it kept the same rate because personal property assessed values have increased a bit and there is some new property within the city limits.
The 19.2 cents per $100 rate is expected to generate nearly $897,000, which is an increase of $5,570.45 when compared to last year’s rates.
Rates producing 2 percent and 4 percent more in revenue would have produced nearly $21,000 and $42,000 more for the city, respectively.
Councilman Stan McKinney said he favors not raising taxes because some residents are unemployed, haven’t received raises in years and are struggling financially.
“I think we ought to tighten our belts a little bit and pass what we can on to the public.”
McKinney made a motion to keep the same rate as last year. Councilman Greg Rice seconded the motion. No vote is required at a first reading.
Councilman Mike Hall Jr. said when the city and county began its agreement to levy the county occupational tax, county officials said they would not set a tax rate that would increase revenue by 4 percent.
“Of the course over 10 years, that resulted in a 40 percent loss of tax base in the county,” he said. “Which was a real problem and caused some of our problems over that 10 years when they ran out of money and they started looking for new ways to draw revenue.”
Hall said Council members should weigh that when thinking about what tax rate to make. He said not taking the 4 percent increase could be OK for a few years, but might not be responsible governmental practice for more than that.
McKinney said he agrees and remembers wondering if the county had set a rate that would increase revenue by 4 percent each year, would levying an occupational tax have been necessary.
Hall said, “It’s easy to say ‘Oh, let’s don’t raise taxes,’ but the consequence is ... you’re not gaining 4 percent of your tax base.”
McKinney said he agrees that the city can only keep its rate the same for a few years.
“Hopefully, in the next few years it will rebound,” he said. “And we have spent money we didn’t have to spend.”
Hall said some of the city’s purchases will require additional money to develop.
“Mayor, what do you recommend?,” Hall asked.
Young said he wants to hear the Council’s recommendation. He said the city’s last rate increase was in 2005 and before that in 2001. Both were rates that increased revenue by 4 percent.
Young said he understands both McKinney’s and Hall’s feelings.
“I feel like we’re still struggling,” Young said.
Hall asked if the city can operate on the same rate as last year and be OK.
“Yes, we can,” Young replied.
McKinney asked if the city’s 2012-2013 budget was built on keeping the rate the same as last year’s. Young said it is.
Council members will consider final reading of this year’s tax rates at their next regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m. at the City Council meeting room above Campbellsville Police Department. The meeting is open to the public.
Interim Fire Chief
Council members appointed Kenny Anderson as Campbellsville Fire & Rescue interim chief as the city continues the process of hiring a replacement for Allen “A.J” Johnson, who will retire on Aug. 31 after 18 years in the position.
Young said last week that 11 candidates were interviewed last week and a second round of six interviews will be this week or next. There might be a final round, he said, before he recommends a candidate for permanent replacement.
During Monday’s meeting, Young said Anderson is one of several internal personnel who have applied for the chief’s position.
Hall made a motion to appoint Anderson, effective Sept. 1, which Councilwoman Vangie Ford seconded and was unanimously approved.
Also at the meeting:
• Young announced that there will be a dedication service on Thursday, Sept. 6, at Campbellsville University to dedicate a courtyard created in the late Frances Clinkscales’ honor. The courtyard is located beside the nursing and education buildings on campus. Clinkscales, a long-time Council member, died in 2008. The ceremony is open to the public. Young said the courtyard was a joint effort by CU and the city.
• Council members set the 2012-2013 motor vehicle and water craft rate at 19.3 cents per $100 of property value, which is the same as last year.
• Ford asked Young what tennis court renovations will cost at Miller Park.
Though he gave no final totals, Young said, “We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t have enough money.”
She also asked for the city to consider installing a guardrail near Warren Place. Young said he will research that possibility.
Ford said there have been some projects happening in the city that she didn’t know about. Young said he has spoken to Council members about several projects and written about them in the CKNJ and is willing to talk to
Ford about any of the city’s projects.
• Council members had final reading of a budget amendment accepting $250,000 in grant funding on behalf of The Healing Place. The funding must flow through the city’s account.