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County approves lower 2020 tax rates

County officials approved lower property tax rates for 2020 for both real and personal property.

The Clark County Fiscal Court voted unanimously to set the rate at 8.7 cents per $100 value for real property and 11 cents for personal property, down from 9 and 11.19 respectively in 2019.

For a person with a $100,000 house, the change saves $3.

Clark County Judge-Executive Chris Pace said the lower rate will allow the county to essentially break even on revenue as assessments have increased.

“Those are the numbers with the increase we have seen in the economy,” Pace said Wednesday. “By my calculations, we would bring in about $2,000 less than we did last year.”

Pace said property assessments increased about 3 percent, and the county has a surplus of approximately $5 million.

Prior to setting the county tax rates, the court members heard presentations from three county taxing districts and their rates for this year. The Clark County Health District kept its rate at 4.6 cents per $100 value, as did the Extension District at 3.221 cents for real property, 4.755 cents for personal property and 1.75 cents for motor vehicles. The Clark County Public Library reduced its property tax rate from 6.2 cents to 6 cents.

The county’s rate of 8.7 cents is lower than the state’s calculated compensating rate of 9 cents and the 4-percent rate of 9.3 cents. Any tax rate higher than 4 percent is subject to a recall vote.

“That’s why we felt to take the compensating rate, we had to go backwards,” Pace said. “The compensating rate is a tax increase.”

Pace said about 90 percent of property taxes are collected annually, and he anticipates about $2.25 million to be collected.

 

County pursuing local dead animal composting program

The court also approved the next step toward implementing its own dead animal composting program.

Pace said the county has already received a $135,000 grant to cover the start-up and equipment purchases for the program.

The program, he said, seems to be a better option than contracting with an outside company to handle the dead animal removal from county farms. Those expenses, he said, nearly doubled for 2020.

“This (order) had to do with the regulatory processes and site selection,” Pace said. “At the very least, it should limit the number we send to an outside company.”

At least initially, Pace sees the program being operated through the road department. Depending on how the program grows, the county may have to hire someone to oversee it.

While the site has not been selected, Pace said it will be on county-owned land.

 

Courthouse to get repairs, new paint

Later in the meeting, the court approved a bid of $84,000 from Casey Creek Construction of Lexington to repair and repaint the county court house.

Magistrate Robert Blanton said the project will repair or replace rotten wood around the courthouse roof and cornice work.

It will also repaint the entire structure.

“It’s not white anymore,” Blanton said.

The courthouse was last painted about six years ago, but Blanton said it doesn’t match the bell tower, which was replaced a couple of years ago.

The county only received one bid for the work. The county also sold tax credits to generate $73,000 of the project cost, Blanton said.

“For $11,000, why not do it?” he said.

The project is expected to take about two months to complete, depending on the weather.

 

Other business

In other action, the court:

— approved the second reading of an ordinance for an occupational license fee refund to M&S Machining.

— voted to re-hire Nova Rison as an administrative assistant in the county attorney’s office.

— voted to hire Arianah Dixon as a kennel attendant at the Clark County Animal Shelter.

— hired Steve Asbury as fire chief for the Clark County Fire Department. Asbury was one of seven candidates and three internal candidates.

— Gary Epperson announced his retirement as county solid waste coordinator and emergency management director, effective the end of September.

— approved the second reading of an ordinance to amend the county administrative code.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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