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Taylor County Fiscal Court's Budget, Audits and Personnel Committee recently concluded that the 2009-2010 jail budget funding will fall about $600,000 short of needed revenue. There are a lot of factors that have led to this situation and are, at this point in time, really not relevant.
What is important is how the shortfall is addressed.
Suggestions that have arisen include: raising the occupational tax rate, adding an insurance premium tax, adding a sunset tax and even breaking the occupational tax agreement with the City.
After a meeting last week, the Fiscal Court Magistrates and the City Council decided to form a committee to discuss options. Communication is a good first step and we encourage both entities to come up with a plan that will be fair to all, including residents and taxpayers from the City of Campbellsville and Taylor County.
Currently, the City operates Campbellsville-Taylor County Rescue as well as the E-911 Emergency Call Center.
Here is a breakdown of the number of calls reported on the E-911 Center Call Log.
City Fire Department 586 515
County Fire Department 184 163
Rescue - City 1,893 2,012
Rescue - County 741 770
City Police Department 13,289 12,810
Taylor County Sheriff 4,347 4,755
Other 1,984 2,055
Total Dispatched Calls 22,831 23,080
Breaking the occupational tax agreement is not in the best interest of anyone.
Passing a budget shortfall from one entity to another does not make any sense. Without the agreement, the financial responsibility for Rescue and E-911 would fall to the City. Could the City then choose to limit those agencies' responses to the City limits? That can't happen. We simply can't leave those who live outside the City limits to fend for themselves.
So solving the jail budget problem with the changes proposed last week merely transfers that same problem to the City's shoulders.
And while magistrates say they absolutely don't want a new tax, if they break the tax agreement, that's exactly what they're doing - by forcing the City to do it instead.