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Judge-executive plans to hold tax rate steady

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Hardin Fiscal Court to consider recommendation Tuesday

The News-Enterprise

Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry will recommend county government’s property tax rate remain at 10.9 cents per $100 of valuation. It’s been unchanged since 2009, when the rate was reduced from 11 cents per $100.

Berrymade the announcement Thursday and will take his recommendation to Hardin Fiscal Court at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting. If approved, the county tax rate will be equal to or below the state’s defined compensating rate for the fourth time.

Kentuckystatutes define the “compensating tax rate” as the figure which, excluding new property added to the tax roles during the last year, will produce the same revenue as generated the previous year.

In announcing the decision, Berry said it was important to consider “many county residents are still struggling as a result of the nation’s weak economy.”

Before he took office, Berry said county government had an annual habit of setting the tax rate at the level that provided a 4 percent revenue increase. Under state law, that is the maximum revenue increase that any taxing district can impose without facing the possibility of a referendum challenge.

Along with maintaining one of the lowest property tax rates in the state, Berry emphasized Hardin County government maintains a balanced budget without imposing an occupational tax, a library tax, an insurance premium tax or fire district tax, which are available to counties under state law.

“Maintaining our tax rates equal to the compensating rate will force us to keep our belts tight and to continue identifying and implementing innovative approaches for providing services more efficiently and effectively,” Berry said in a statement. “While county government has been very successful during the past 11 years in eliminating waste and redundancy along with more efficient operations, we will continue to search for other savings to reduce the impact on county operations of maintaining tax rates at the low compensating rate.”

Fiscal Court will set county property tax rates during its meeting, which begins at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the courthouse on Public Square in Elizabethtown.