Fiscal Court makes several statements of support  – Murray Ledger & Times

By JOHN WRIGHT 
Source: Murray Ledger & Times

Resolutions were the order of the day Tuesday for the Calloway County Fiscal Court as the magistrates sought to make statements of support for key issues.

The first of these was in relation to House Bill 1 of the Kentucky General Assembly, which addresses Local Investments for Transformation (LIFT) legislation that calls for amending Kentucky’s Constitution to allow citizens to vote on a local sales tax to fund transformational local projects. The tax would be removed once payments for the projects are made. Tuesday’s resolution was approved unanimously.

“We need something like this because there just isn’t enough money available right now to finance projects that we here know we need,” said Calloway County Judge-Executive Larry Elkins of the bill that, if approved in Frankfort, would call for a statewide constitutional amendment vote this fall, then legislative approval to ratify the constitution. “The real beauty is, after a fiscal court or city council or whatever kind of local government decides a project is needed, the last thing that happens is for the voters, the people of the community, decide to approve it or not. To me it is the purest form of democracy.”

The state House of Representatives passed the measure last week. The Senate is now considering the bill.

Next up for the magistrates was a resolution supporting Senate Bill 93 of the General Assembly that calls for elections to be held in even-numbered years. Currently, Kentucky operates under a system that allows elections three out of four years.

One of the main points of this bill is that it would save the commonwealth $3.5 million every four years, saving counties more than $14 million every four years, including more than $80,000 in Calloway County.

“With elections happening as they are now, voter turnout is historically quite low and county clerk offices are spending quite a bit of money on these elections,” Elkins said. “This is a real solid piece of legislation that I believe could make a real difference.”

This resolution also passed unanimously, as did the third resolution considered, one that encourages the General Assembly and Gov. Steve Beshear to push legislation stabilizing funding for state and local transportation.

This involves the state gas tax, which had a direct impact on road projects each year. Thanks to the drop in gasoline prices throughout the community, though, this has meant the amount of money available has shrunk so far in 2015.

“So far it has dropped four to five cents. We can handle that,” Elkins said. “If that drops another nickel, things are going to get rough. Right now, the tax can go all the way down to a bottom number, but the problem is, it can only go back up 10 percent a year.

“If this continues, it’s going to have a dramatic impact on state and local governments.”

In addition, magistrates unanimously approved the acceptance of a $75 bid from a prospective buyer on Lot 58 of Unit 1 in the Maple Springs subdivision in the eastern portion of the county.

What People Are Saying

  • “Putting the local-tax amendment on the November 2014 statewide ballot is a no-brainer. If local people want to levy local taxes on themselves, they should be able to.”

    Al Cross, Courier-Journal columnist
  • Jeff-Bringardner-headshot-only“This is a way to keep dollars in the area, to come up with a diverse slate of projects that sync up with the long-term plans of the community and get voted on by the people”

    Jeff Bringardner, President, Humana Kentucky
  • BillLamb“If Louisville could adopt a 1% Local Option Tax, it would impose a minimal burden, but would raise over 90 million dollars a year.”

    Bill Lamb, President and General Manager for WDRB and WNYO
  • Bill Samuels Bellarmine Portrait“Local option makes all the sense in the world. Offering citizens the opportunity to vote on investing in their community is how our country ought to operate.”

    Bill Samuels, Chairman, Emeritus Makers Mark
  • …a new way for communities to see the projects they want and need go from the drawing board to reality — and to do it for themselves.

    Jim Host, founder of Host Communications and former State Commerce Secretary
  • LIFT is a tried-and-true tool that allows for more voter involvement in the process.  Voters, not politicians, would help determine big picture, visionary projects that could improve quality of life.

    Dave Adkisson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • …an idea whose time has come, and could be a crucial economic development tool which will help our local communities build a better future, and the new jobs and businesses we need.

    Hal Goode, President and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Economic Development
  • In our opinion, Kentucky voters should be allowed to vote on the local option sales tax because it could fund public facilities without increasing property taxes.

    Morehead News
  • It will allow communities to plan and pay for improvements to enhance civic and economic life without going hat in hand each budget session to Frankfort.

    Lexington Herald-Leader
  • The beauty of it is that local voters have the say-so as to its enactment, and they have a sense that they are getting what they pay for.

    Princeton Times-Leader