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Harrodsburg City Commission Lowers Tax Rate

Public Tax Hearing On Oct. 1

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

Even though the Harrodsburg City Commission chose to lower the tax rate on all taxable property except motor vehicles Monday night, officials expect the city will see more revenue.

The commissioners gave first reading on ordinance 2020-06, setting the tax rate for real and personal property at 6.65 cents per $100 in assessed value. This is the four-percent rate, which is calculated by the state to increase revenue by four-percent. However, because assessments are up for the year, that rate is actually less than the current rate,  6.68 cents per $100.

Even at the old rate, property taxes in Harrodsburg are a bargain. Mayor Art Freeman said the median real property tax rate in Kentucky is 16.6 cents per $100 evaluation. Freeman said the commission has always taken the compensating rate.

“We’re down to less than one cent per $100,” he said.

The mayor said if they took the compensating rate, they’d lose over $6,800. If they took the four-percent rate, which requires a public hearing, that would lower the rate but provide the city with $12,000 more in revenue.

Even with the increase in city revenues, the mayor said property owners would pay less tax than last year. A person who owns a house worth $100,000 would pay $66.50 this year, versus $66.80 last year.

“It looks like a raise but it’s not a raise,” said Commissioner Marvin “Bubby” Isham.

Freeman said the city will not be able to release tax bills like last year. First, the commission will have to hold a public hearing on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 5:30 p.m., followed by a special-called meeting at 6:30 p.m. that night.

Freeman said all tax bills will be out by Nov. 1 and will be due by the end of November. There will be no penalty if paid by Nov. 30.

The city commission also gave first reading on ad valorem tax on motor vehicles of 23 cents per $100, which is the same as last year.

In other business, the Harrodsburg City Commission:

• Approved closing sections of Marimon and Office Streets for the Warehouse Music Fest on Oct. 2–3.

• Approved two water bill adjustments. 

• Approved resolutions to open a sewer surcharge account and to open a water surcharge account. They also approved resolution 2020-09-14 (3), which authorizes the city to file with the Department of Local Government for reimbursement for CARES Act funding. The commission authorized Mayor Freeman to sign duplication of benefits certifications for $479,081 and $131,548 for a total of  $610,629. Mayor Freeman said it would cover most of the police and fire department compensation. He said the two draws would cover half the shortfall the city had.

Shavonna Huffman, the city clerk, said the city has had already received the first check in the amount of $479,081 and will receive the second check $131,548 in a week or two.

• Approved .75 per hour raises for Shandi Freeman and Kayla Patterson for taking on restaurant tax role.

• Made personnel moves. The commission accepted the resignations of Patrolman Taylor Smith from the Harrodsburg Police Department effective Sept. 22 and Firefighter Jacob Robinson from the Harrodsburg Fire Department effective Sept. 11. The commission gave second reading to ordinance 2020-05, which creates a new position classification: law enforcement telecommunicator II.

After an executive session, the commission voted to terminate Herman Merggard effective immediately for failure to comply with city ordinance on use of city vehicles.

• Agreed to sell equipment at the waste water treatment plant and use the proceeds to buy a tractor and bushhog pending.

The next regular meeting of the Harrodsburg City Commission will be on Monday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m. at city hall.

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