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Classification’s ironic end
It is good to see that the Kentucky legislature finally took action to amend the state’s city classification law, even though it took 20 years for it to do so.
Elizabethtown city government has received a form of absolution for its outright defiance of the city classification laws based on population that existed when they imposed the 2 percent restaurant tax on our citizens.
One thing will never change, though. When then-mayor David Willmoth and Councilmen Tony Bishop, Marty Fulkerson and Kenny Lewis first imposed a fourth-class 2 percent restaurant tax and created the seedbed for the fourth-class city 5 percent alcohol tax Elizabethtown citizens also are paying now, it was then the wrong thing to do. Elizabethtown had long passed the population limit for a fourth-class city when they took that action, and they refused to take the action available to them by state law to be classified correctly as the second-class city Elizabethtown already had become based on population. They preferred imposing new taxes over classifying the city correctly.
Those four and those who supported that action placed a cynical bet that they could get away with flaunting the then existing population limits for a fourth-class city. The new city classification system allows them to go unscathed for flaunting state regulations.
The irony in all of this is that Elizabethtown now will be reclassified at last, while retaining the fourth-class city taxes it imposed long before it was eligible to do so.
What all of this makes plainly evident is that the Kentucky state legislature created conditions for abuse of the previous city classification system and then took 20 years to set things right.
There is plenty of shame to go around: Shame on those who dared the state to enforce the city classification laws that existed when they placed fourth-class city taxes on a truly second-class city, and shame on the state legislature for taking 20 years to create a new city classification system that hopefully will eliminate conditions that encourage abuse of it.
Much has changed in 65 years
Sixty-five years ago, Elizabethtown was a sleepy village in a quiet farm county. Except for nearby Fort Knox, there weren’t many options for jobs, and many people had a hard time finding work.
Sixty-five years ago, William Osborne put down $125 to open a quarry eight miles north of town. Sixty-five years ago, a quarry far from town fit well with the larger community.
Now, a quarry nearly in city limits is not in keeping with what Hardin County is, and is in sharp contrast with the future of Hardin County as a thriving center for a modern economy.
That little eight-acre tract has grown over these 65 years to 580-acre scar today and Vulcan won’t quit digging until someone says stop. Vulcan’s quarry is a basically a strip mine in a residential neighborhood, and there are many other locations in Hardin County that are more appropriate for quarries.
Help Hardin County reach a better future by saying no to the quarry expansion.