Harrodsburg City Commission Keeps Same Tax Rate

City Has Not Raised Property Taxes In Nine Years

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

rmoore@harrodsburgherald.com

The Harrodsburg City Commissioners have voted to keep the property tax rate the same as last year, at 66.8 cents per $100 in assessed value. The commission held a public hearing on Thursday to discuss raising the tax rate to 81.2 cents per $100 in assessed value.

While only four people showed up for the hearing, opposition from those in the audience as well as from some city commissioners made them keep the rate.

“I hate taxes,” said Mayor Freeman. “If anyone can explain to me how we’re going to avoid either death or taxes, explain it to me.”

Freeman said the city had taken the compensating rate for the past nine years, which has gone down every year. During that same period, building permits have gone up, but so have the number of properties and residents and number of services the city needs to provide. Freeman said the rate increase was built into the budget, and if the commission elected not to increase the tax rate, they’d have to eliminate over $70,000 in spending.

“We’ll have to find somewhere to cut to balance the budget,” the mayor said.

Commissioners Marvin “Bub” Isham and Charlie Mattingly said they could make a smaller budget work.

Mattingly said every department could find someway to cut expenses. “We can make the money up somewhere,” he said. “I just hate to raise taxes on the public.”

“We spent too much,” Isham said. “We’re getting too lax on spending.”

He said there was a piece of equipment his department could sell to make up for the cuts, but the money from one department cannot be used to fund another department.

City officials were estimating the new tax rate would generate an estimated $388,000 in additional revenue.

“We will not finish this year with a surplus,” Freeman said. The city will have to spend money from their reserves. The city had to cut $750,000 from last year’s budget, the mayor said.

Commissioner Jack Coleman sided with Freeman. Coleman said there were 600 students at Campbellsville University at Harrodsburg. He said there are talks about a Hilton Express being built to serve the growing population. He said the city has added 41 houses over the past three years but the city kept cutting the budget.

With the growth at Campbellsville, Coleman said there was a possibility 300 families would be moving into Harrodsburg over the next several years. He said they were running the city on the same revenue in 2019 as they did in 2010.

“We just can’t keep cutting ourselves into the future,” Coleman said.

His arguments did not convince the other commissioners. Isham moved to keep the same rate as last year. The motion passed unanimously with Coleman abstaining.

The city will now have to look at where to cut $70,000 from the current budget. They will also have to figure out a way to pay for E911 services after the Mercer County Fiscal Court failed to pass a parcel lot fee of $40.

The next regular meeting of the Harrodsburg City Commission will be on Monday, Sept. 23, 6 p.m. at City Hall (208 South Main Street).

Here is a list of tax rates set by the county, the City of Burgin and the special taxing districts for the new fiscal year. They are presented as cents per $100 in assessed value.

Mercer County

Real Estate 12.4

Personal Property 16.08

City Of Burgin

Real Estate 20.45

Personal Property 15.33

Mercer County

Public Library

Real Estate 8.0

Personal Property 8.0

Mercer County

Health Department

Real Estate 5.0

Personal Property 5.0

Mercer County Cooperative Extension Office

Real Estate 4.10

Personal Property 7.70

Mercer County Fire Protection District

Real Estate 6.0

Personal Property 6.0

Mercer County Soil Conservation District

Millage Tax 0.7

Editor’s Note: This rate was incorrectly reported in last week’s story. The correct rate is seven-tenths of a cent.

Mercer County Schools

Real Estate 71.8

Personal Property 71.8

Burgin Independent Schools

Real Estate 77.7

Personal Property 77.7

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