Second Reading of Amended Room and Rec Taxes Approved, Over $30K Brought In At County Surplus Auction, More:
Darren Doyle, story:
One of the longest meetings in the past five years took place today during Edmonson County Fiscal Court, May 13, 2019, lasting more than three hours. While nothing discussed was too much out of the ordinary, more than three pages of items were on today's agenda.
In addition to the standard county office reports normally given, the second reading of Ordinance EC 19-11, better known as the Edmonson County Conservation District millage tax, passed unanimously during the meeting. The first reading passed during the previous meeting.
The proposed tax was first presented by the Conservation District on April 8, 2019 after they had a shortfall in their upcoming annual budget, one that wasn't going to be completely supported by the fiscal court's general fund, due to cut budgets of the county's own.
During the March 25, 2019 Fiscal Court meeting, it was confirmed that Edmonson County Conservation is already set up as a “special district” which means they have the ability to set a millage tax rate to use for their funding without the approval of Fiscal Court. While the court doesn't set the rate, they have to vote whether or not to approve the tax.
Special taxing districts in Edmonson County are the health department, the Extension Office, and similar offices. The current set rate for the Conservation District is $10.44 for every $100,000 worth of property for Edmonson County property owners, which will appear on the 2019 property tax bills.
Room and Rec Tax Ordinances:
The second readings of both the Transient Room Tax (EC19-08) and the Recreational Tax (EC19-09) also passed today. While these taxes aren't new to local tourist-type business owners, the new ordinance allows the county to place liens on property of those who do not pay the required taxes. This comes in the wake of a lawsuit recently won by the county against the company that owns Park Mammoth, The Fortress Group. Park Mammoth currently owes more than $60K in unpaid room and rec taxes to Edmonson County. That number is significant due to budget restraints that currently hinder both the local park system and the Tourism Commission.
All recreational businesses that offer services inside the county (horseback riding, golf, ATVs, etc.) are required to pay a Recreational Tax, the monies of which help fund the county Parks and Rec program. All businesses that offer sleeping accommodations (bed in breakfast, cabin rentals, etc.) must pay a county Transient Room Tax, which funds Edmonson County Tourism.
County Agrees To Stop Paying Rescue Squad Insurance:
County Treasurer Tammi Willhite recently discovered that the county government has been paying property and casualty insurance premiums for the Edmonson County Rescue Squad since 2011. Willhite said there was no record of the fiscal court approving these payments and since the Rescue Squad is not a county-run entity, county government isn't required to pay their premiums, but can vote to do so. According to the treasurer, the county has paid more than $25,000 in premiums over the past 8 years, amounts that were simply paid by former treasurers. Since there was no record of the court ever approving the payments, no action had to officially be taken as the court agreed to simply stop making them.
County Surplus Sale Nets More Than $30K
The recent county surplus auction brought in a total of $30,204.60, which will be divided to the proper county office accounts. Individual totals were:
County Office Reports:
County Road Foreman Greg Carroll reported completed paving work on Beaver Dam Church Road and Noah Bledsoe Road and said crews are currently working on Chaumont Rd. He said road crews have recently installed several road tiles, and they also recently hauled off $745 scrap that was in and around their shop.
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle said his office started lake patrol this past weekend as part of their partnership with the Corps of Engineers.
He also discussed attending the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council's recent meeting, of which he serves as a member. He explained a portion of Senate bill 1, which was signed as an emergency bill in March to address school safety issues. The bill was designed to provide more school security/school resource officers in all schools in KY “as funds become available.” Currently, there is only one full time school resource officer, which is at ECHS. Sheriff Doyle said the local school district will try to incorporate more officers in the future and that the court may see a request for more officers in order to accommodate this requirement.
He also asked the court to consider adding the money raised from the old sheriff cruisers sold at the recent surplus auction ($2800) back to the sheriff's office since those vehicles were originally purchased with money from the sheriff. No action was taken on that.
Jailer Report: Jailer Hank Vincent reported there were 27 county inmates housed at Hart County Jail with one on home incarceration.
Tourism/Chamber Report: Chamber and Tourism Director Rhonda Clemmons updated the court on the recent chamber lunch, which was hosted by St. John's church as well as the recent ribbon cutting at Bee Spring Lumber and Supply Company. She also announced that on Weds, May 22nd, the chamber will host a ribbon cutting at Ace Hardware at the former Sav-A-Lot location. Finally, she announced there will also be a luncheon in honor of Jerry Patton on Friday, June 28th, which will commemorate 50 years of service with Patton Funeral Home. The event will be held at the Heritage Centre.
The next fiscal court meeting was rescheduled due to Memorial Day and will be held on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 9am.