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Friday, September 4, 2015

Campbell Hears from Special Taxing Districts, Approves Bonds for Jail Renovation

FTM file. 
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor of The River City News

Special taxing districts continued their annual parade before the Campbell Fiscal Court on Wednesday, as mandated by a relatively new state law.

The most notable of these agencies may have been the Campbell County Public Library which was sued by a group of Campbell County residents in 2012 who claimed that the Library had been adjusting its tax rates illegally. Campbell County Commissioner Charlie Coleman was among those who filed suit.

“Our tax rates are not exactly the same,” said Campbell County Library Director J.C. Morgan. “We are under a court order. We were sued in January of 2012 over the method by which we adjust our tax rate every year. We got a decision in March 2015 that was unanimously ruled in the Library’s favor that we were indeed doing the right thing. That decision has been appealed and is right now in the Kentucky Supreme Court. They are trying to decide if they are going to hear it; they’ve been trying to decide that since March, so hopefully they will make that decision soon.”

There are three tiers of property tax that an SPGE reports: real estate tax, personal property tax and a motor-vehicle tax. The library’s real estate will remain at 7.7 cents per $100—the same rate as 2012. For personal property, the tax rate actually went down to 9.08, and the motor vehicle tax has been unchanged since 1983 at 2.6, according to Morgan.

In his presentation, Morgan talked about the enhancements the Library has recently undergone such as the use of the lower level of the Newport Branch.

“I’m glad to see that you’ve been able to make all of these improvements without raising taxes,” Coleman said to Morgan.

Morgan said that the Library had to spend over $170,000 out of its reserves this past fiscal year which accounts for over 10 percent of the entire reserve fund. In 2014-15, the Library reported almost $4.5 million received from Campbell County tax payers.

Another SPGE on hand was the Conservation District which protects the County’s air, water and soil. The Conservation District did not raise any of its tax rates this year. Chairman Dennis Walter said that their services in any way will not be compromised by the decision to keep the tax rates the same.
Others were the Fire District No. 1 and the Southern Campbell Fire District who both kept their rates the same as well.

Other notes:
The Fiscal Court applied for funds in March 2014 to go towards the A.J. Jolly Trailside Enhancement Project and was awarded $100,000 for the project. Part of the funds will go toward drainage of the bowl area in front of the Stapleton Pavilion and to install a new automatic gate for the park.
“If you were at the first music event at the park, you witnessed the need for drainage in that bowl area,” said Commissioner Tom Lampe. “So this is money that will put to great use.”

It was also agreed by the members of the Fiscal Court to authorize the issuance of the bonds necessary to pay for the renovation of the Campbell County Detention Center. The principle amount of these bonds cannot exceed $5,500,000 for the project.

The Fiscal Court also agreed to receive $20,000 from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Rural and Municipal Aid fund to finish paying for the Daniels Road Bridge Project.
Alex Turner was appointed as a Grade 6 lateral-entry police officer.

Commissioner Brian Painter pointed out that it was a bit unusual to have a new officer with 10 years of service credit to his name already. Police Chief Craig Sorrell explained that Turner was a Cleveland police officer who moved here with his wife so that she could set up a new church in the area. Sorrell said that the lateral moves can be advantageous for a police force because it can cut down on the amount of training by upwards of 10 months which saves the county money and also gets officers on the streets sooner.

Campbell County Planning and Zoning Director was named the 2015 Mitigation Manager of the Year by the Kentucky Association of Mitigation Managers. Commissioner Lampe explained that FEMA has a rating system and five of the nine cities that were admitted this year are from Campbell County.  That accomplishment earns citizens a discount on flood insurance.

“That’s a win-win for all, and quite an accomplishment,” Lampe said of Minter’s award.

Republished with permission. 

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