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City council approves tax rates, three phase approach to sports complex

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The total estimate for the sports complex exceeds $3 million

By Josh Claywell

 

The Campbellsville City Council set tax rates for 2019 at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night at the Civic Center.

Tax rates will not increase, with rates for real property and personal property set at 19.1 cents per $100 of assessed value for and rates for motor vehicles/watercraft set at 19.3 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The rates are the compensating values over 2018. If the rates had increased, the council would have had to hold a public hearing.

Per Kentucky Revised Statute 132.487, all applicable taxing districts that propose to levy a tax on motor vehicles valued as of Jan. 1 must submit to the state Department of Revenue on or before Oct. 1 of the year preceding the assessment date. The tax rate is to be levied against valuations as of the assessment date. Any district that fails to timely submit the tax rate shall receive the rate in effect for the prior year.

Councilman Mike Hall Jr. made the motion to set the tax rates and it was seconded by Councilwoman Diane Ford-Benningfield.

“If your motion is for the compensating rate, then I vote yes,” Councilman Randall Herron said.

The measure passed unanimously after a brief discussion. The new rate will generate an income of $987,951 for the city, according to City Clerk Cary Noe. If the council had elected for a 4 percent increase in taxes, it would have brought in $1,024,159 in revenue.

 

In other news:

• The council approved a three-phase approach for the development of the Campbellsville Sports Complex.

The council voted to accept a base bid of $370,880 from Edwards Contracting to begin mass earthwork at the site of the complex, which is off Highway 55 going toward Columbia.

Edwards Contracting presented the council with two alternate bids, one of which included a five-year term at 5 percent on $197,000 with yearly payments of $45,500.

Councilman Dave Nunery made a motion for the council to accept the alternate bids, and it was initially approved, but Ford-Benningfield made a motion that the council not accept the alternate bids and proceed with the first bid from Edwards. That motion passed 9-1, with Councilwoman Patti Phillips being the lone no vote.

The sports complex will be developed in three phases. Phase one will cost $723,881.78, phase two comes in at $1,265,270.20 and phase three will run $1,334,651.57 for a total cost of $3,323,803.55.

Edwards Contracting can get started in two weeks, city engineer Blake Durrett said. An email to Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young from Edwards said work on phase one would be completed in 60 working days as defined by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

During a lengthy discussion on the issue, Phillips asked Durrett if the city can simply fix Miller Park.

“Is it not fixable?” she asked.

“Fixable as in?” Durrett responded.

Phillips mentioned a few lingering issues at Miller Park, including sewer problems, field issues and the concession stand.

“We are currently working on fixing the sewer problem,” Durrett said. “I don’t know what we need to fix as far as the ball fields. I’ve not heard any expansion plans for the park, just improvement plans.”

Phillips then noted how much the new sports complex would cost the city, saying it was going to require a lot of upkeep.

“If we can’t upkeep that project, how are we going to upkeep this project?” she asked. “I think that project needs to be fixed first and we use what we have, then, if it takes 10 years to build the park, it’ll take 10 years to build the park.”

The discussion carried on for several more minutes before it was brought to a roll-call vote.

• The council had the second reading of annexing The Resort Green River, LLC property owned by Marie Tucker, into the city limits.

Gordon Weddle, a resident of the neighborhood surrounding the resort, attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of his neighbors. Weddle was unaware of the first reading of the annexing of the property and wanted to share his thoughts with the council.

“We didn’t learn about the first reading until we saw it in the newspaper and heard about it on the radio,” he said. “We felt like we deserve some heads up on this happening, since we are the people who are the most seriously impacted by this. It confused me at first. How could you annex something that you’re not next to?

“I looked up the regulations, the Kentucky regulations on how to operate cities, and they said it has to be either adjacent to or contiguous with a city boundary.”

Weddle said Nunery told him the boundary was a sewer line the city put in several years ago. He asked the council if a water line could be used for that same purpose.

“As I understand it now, it’s a corridor boundary,” Weddle said. “I’m a recently retired scientist and I reason things out. I try to figure out what’s the win here. Who’s winning? In order for this to be something that the city would want and Marie Tucker would want, there has to be a plus on both sides.

“I couldn’t, for the life of me, begin to understand what the plus was for Marie Tucker, because she’s going to end up paying city tax and her employees are going to end up paying city income tax. That seems to be a downer,” he added. “The city is going to gain that tax and I suppose that would be good for the city. It didn’t come to me until I stopped at Dollar General, what the purpose was.”

Weddle surmised the purpose for the move was to allow Tucker and the resort to get a liquor license. Weddle said that was the only thing he could think of where everyone benefitted from annexing the property.

“We don’t feel like we have a voice here,” Weddle told the council. “We can’t vote for any of you, and yet we end up being the most seriously impacted.”

The campground at the resort is used by hundreds of people during the year, most notably the Amazon employees who are hired during peak season by the retail giant.

Weddle said the residents don’t have any issues with the Amazon employees, but that most of the problems come from the summer campers.

“We don’t have any problem with the Amazon campers. They’re quiet, they’re respectful,” he said. “We don’t hear anything out of them. From now until Christmas, it’ll be peaceful, maybe after the summer campers leave. But the summer campers that camp there are partying all weekend long.”

Weddle said campers had music playing until late in the night, which caused some residents to not be able to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Weddle ran down a laundry list of things that have been happening at the resort in the summer months.

“I suppose we simply want our properties to be respected as you would if you were in the same situation,” he said to the council. “If you do pass this, is it subject to all the city zoning ordinances?”

Nunery said the resort would be subject to all ordinances put in place by the city. Weddle asked who the residents should call if there are any issues.

Hall said the city will be required to send police, fire and emergency medical services to the resort.

“The response times are going to be long,” he said.

Tucker then approached the council, looking to shed more light on why she wanted her property annexed into the city.

“I do respect your concerns, but I have never played music until 2 o’clock in the morning,” Tucker said to the Weddles and other residents in attendance. “Now, if a camper has played music until 2 o’clock in the morning, it would have been addressed to me and I would have addressed it immediately.”

After several more minutes of discussion among the council, Tucker, the Weddles and resident Kevin Drury, the issue was put forth for a vote. Nunery made the motion that the council accept the resort into city limits, with Councilman Jimmy Ewing seconding. The motion passed unanimously.