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With factors such as sequestration and a weak economy impacting residents’ lives, Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall said he could not justify a property tax increase.
City Council informally agreed to hold its real property tax rate at 15.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, slightly below the compensating rate of 16 cents per $100 of assessed value, for the third straight year.
Had the city taken the compensating rate, which is the amount needed to equal revenue from last year, it would produce additional revenues of $35,007. The city is legally allowed to take up to a 4 percent growth rate of 16.6 cents per $100 of assessed value, which would produce $93,256 above last year’s revenues, according to Chief Financial Officer Chance Fox.
Prior to 2011, Radcliff frequently took the 4 percent growth rate, which created seeds of discord among the council. Duvall said the logic behind the increases was fueled by a fear the state would deny the city grant funding if it came with its hand out, knowing the council had the power to increase its own revenues.
But the mayor said reality contradicts this assumption because the city was just approved $802,000 in change orders for ongoing work on a segment of Wilson Road leading to Lincoln Trail Boulevard, which includes making a permanent commuter lane for Fort Knox motorists on Wilson Road near Knox Boulevard.
The city also debuted its new fire truck this week, which cost $500,000 and will be paid for without a tax increase, Duvall noted.
He said the city has been thrifty in spending, maintaining programs and services and making improvements without the need for an increase.
Councilman Don Shaw said he could not defend any form of tax increase with Hardin County Schools just approving a property tax increase and Hardin County Water District No. 1 appealing to the Public Service Commission to raise its sewer rates.
“It would not be in our best interest,” Shaw said.
Councilman Jacob Pearman said passing on tax increases to residents is an unsavory method of raising revenues and should be avoided at all costs.
“We should never (consider) a tax increase unless it’s an absolute necessity,” he said.
Councilman Stan Holmes congratulated the council on finding common ground.
“That’s good to hear,” Holmes said.
The city also has proposed taking a personal property tax rate of 19.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, which is lower than the compensating rate of 20 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Fox said the personal property tax rates equate to a reduction, particularly for businesses with large inventories. The rate taken last year was 20.6 cents per $100 of assessed value, which fell this year with the city taking a rate below the compensating rate last year, Fox said.
The 4 percent growth rate for personal property would be 20.8 cents per $100, according to Fox.
The city also intends to hold rates for privately owned registered vehicles and watercraft at 19.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, and the bank deposit tax rate will remain at .00025
Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.