Darren Doyle, story and photo
Magistrates voted unanimously to approve a new Health Dept. tax at today's Fiscal Court meeting, Monday, 8/24. However, another proposed tax was not voted on, as legal research from County Attorney J.B. Hines' office proved that the proposed Extension Agent tax wasn't a matter for Fiscal Court.
A state law passed in 1978 gave authority to each county's Extension District Authority Board to levy the tax in each county used to fund their offices. No one locally was aware of the law, which prompted the Fiscal Court to seek out the tax in the first place.
"We found out that Fiscal Court doesn't control the Extension Office District Board," said Cannon. "The district board has called for a public notice for a special meeting held at 4pm on Tuesday, September 1st, at the Extension office on Mohawk Street." The meeting will be for the purpose of setting the extension tax rate for Edmonson County.
According to David Embrey, County Extension Agent, the board will move forward by attempting to put the tax in place. Judge Wil Cannon said the board has to be reasonable with the tax rate, and it must fall within certain guidelines as governed by the state. Agent Embrey said setting high tax rates would never be the plan. "We couldn't, and we wouldn't just want to go in and raise taxes just because we can," said Embrey.
The proposed plan is still to set the rate at .175 per $100 of property value. This rate will only provide funding for the Extension Office to continue the services they currently offer, and nothing extra, which will save the county somewhere around $90,000. Members of the board include Wil Cannon, Yvonne Campbell, Arlene Skaggs, David Woosley, Melody Prunty, Linda Starnes, and James Davis.
The Health Department Special District Tax, which was voted for by all magistrates, could appear on the upcoming property tax bills, according to Cannon. The rate will be 2 cents per $100 of assessed value. Officials estimated that both taxes will end up costing the average Edmonson County household around a total of $20 per year. So in essence, by each family paying an additional $1.67 per month, the county will save over $200,000 in one year, which according to Cannon, is the amount needed to avert a financial crisis in the county.
In other Fiscal Court News:
County Road Foreman Ray Page reported that he had spoken with a state inspector regarding the construction of a new salt storage bin for the county. The inspector said an architect will have to draw plans for the structure and they'll need to be approved in Frankfort before construction can begin.
He reported earlier that Harlin Tarter had offered to supply some pre-fab forms, but it now appears as the project will need different sizes than what Tarter had offered. The county has requested bids from two local concrete contractors to pour the walls for the structure.
Sheriff Shane Doyle wanted to make everyone aware that the local animal control officers, Greg and Kim Carroll, were a huge help at the meth lab bust in Wingfield last week. He said the Carroll's removed some of the vicious animals from the home and placed them in kennels that were at the rear of the property. He said the case couldn't have been worked without removal of the animals.
Blue Holler ATV Park:
Judge Cannon said he and the Sheriff spoke with Kevin Nelson, manager of Blue Holler ATV Park and discussed the complaints of noise, mud on the roads, illegal parking in the cemetery from patrons of the park, and owed taxes. Cannon said Mr. Nelson was in the process of creating new parking on Ollie Ridge Rd and has paid all taxes at the present. Nelson agreed to keeping noise levels down at 9pm from Sunday to Thursday, and 11pm on Friday and Saturday.
Other Tax Rates:
The county agreed to keep property tax and motor vehicle/water craft tax rates the same as last year.
It was reported that the county will be receiving disaster funds in the amount of $23,191. Edmonson County was declared a state of emergency during the February snowstorm which qualified the county for government funding. The funds will be used towards the new salt bin project.
County Park Use For Charitable Events:
The court agreed to give Judge Cannon the authority to allow charitable events at county facilities at county parks. He said as long as local non-profits benefit the county, he wanted them to have use of the these facilities at no charge. One example was an upcoming car show that will be a benefit for the proposed Veterans Memorial Courtyard at the courthouse.