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E'town property tax rates unchanged

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City to take compensating rate

By Marty Finley

Elizabethtown’s property tax rates once again will remain unchanged this year.

Elizabethtown City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance holding the real and personal property tax rate flat at the compensating rate of 11.6 cents per $100 of assessed value at the recommendation of Finance Director Steve Park.

“Keep it even,” Park said.

Park said the city has held the rate steady for several years.

The city also approved the first reading of an ordinance keeping the tax rate at 11.6 cents per $100 of assessed value for motor vehicles and watercraft and kept the franchise tax rate at 0.025 percent for all eligible bank deposits.

The compensating rate will create an amount of revenue roughly equal to the previous year, expected to produce about $3.34 million for Elizabethtown coffers, according to a memorandum distributed to the council by Park.

The city legally is allowed to set a rate between 11.6 and 12 cents per $100 of assessed value, which would produce more than $3.4 million of revenue. Each tenth of a cent equals $27,000 in revenue, Park said.

A homeowner pays $116 on a $100,000 home under the rate.

Park said the recommended rate will allow Elizabethtown to fall near budget projections. Any shortfalls in recent years have been offset with occupational tax revenues, which have been trending above budget, Park said.

“We’ve tried to keep it low because the real estate market (has been stagnant),” he said.

Park said there is some indication the market may turn around, and he hopes the city eventually will be able to start reducing rates as the city “gets more in valuations.”

The city also has been able to stay close to projections with new property coming on, Park said.

“We’ve tried to be as conservative as possible on budget,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.

In other business:

 

  • The council approved a foot race policy proposed by Police Chief Tracy Schiller in conjunction with City Engineer Scott Reynolds that designates five 5k routes and three 10K routes in a manner that takes events off major roadways. Schiller said. The need for such a policy arose as the city noticed an increase in permits requests for organized runs, Schiller said. Viewing the routes used, Schiller with the aid of other city officials devised a plan to curb the closure of major roads for long periods of time and reduce impact on cross streets. The policy is designed to allow flexibility under extenuating circumstances, but as a rule the city would require reimbursement from organizers for staffing and other costs it incurs should a race group want to drift from an established route, Schiller said.
  •  The council approved first reading of an ordinance altering aspects of its alcoholic beverage control laws to mimic changes in state law. Alcoholic Beverage Control Administrator Tom Reynolds said recent changes in state law has streamlined licenses from 88 to 44, creating a malt beverage license for package sales and another for malt beverage consumption on the premises. The state also now permits sales during polling hours on Election Day, said City Attorney D. Dee Shaw.
  • The council renewed sponsorships with Lowe’s and Waste Management, both of which are one-year contracts. Lowe’s will pay the park $25,000 if it agrees to spend $5,000 with the company and offer signage and marketing opportunities for the business while Waste Management will provide $23,630 in in-kind services. Waste Management could twice set up booths and use meeting space at the park and gains naming rights to the marsh areas, according to the agreement.
  • The council also heard the first reading of an ordinance establishing an allocation fee for the detention basin built beside Severns Valley Baptist Church. The work cost about $2.27 million and will benefit a watershed of more than 1,000 acres, said Robert Bush, director of stormwater management. Developers of those acres would pay an allocation of $2,106.19 per acre when starting a development or annexing a county parcel into the city, Bush said.