By Bill Sheckles, Former Mayor of Bardstown
Major growth brings major demands. That’s the reality faced in Bardstown and other municipalities as we look for new ways to provide services and amenities in our growing communities. Unfortunately, revenue doesn’t always grow as fast as the population – impacting the quality of life for everyone.
The local option is an ideal solution for giving citizens the ability to provide for themselves rather than waiting for the federal or state governments to hand out money. Also, local control would have the dual benefit of improving quality of life in a community while attracting employers and furthering economic growth.
In Nelson County our population has more than doubled over the last decade to 47,000 people. Bardstown has grown, too, with more than 12,000 calling our city home. Many of our newer residents have moved here from larger metro areas. As you could expect, with new people come new ideas and new expectations – such as access to more public recreational facilities. An indoor swimming pool is one such example. A joint city / county emergency response facility is another project that could benefit residents in our area. However, rather than putting a major burden on tax payers to build either of those facilities, the local option would prove a sensible – and limited – means to improve our quality of life and services.
Overall, the local option sales tax is about how well you want your community to be positioned for future growth and health. Bardstown has attracted people to our city by being forward thinking and developing a reputation as being both family and business-friendly. But we can’t rest on our laurels. To remain competitive in attracting employers we must ensure that our quality of life continues to improve and expand with our growing population. The local option would give Bardstown and other communities the ability to do that.
In November 2010, Bill Sheckles was elected as the first African-American Mayor of the City of Bardstown. Previously he served 12 years on city council, and he was also an active member of Joint City-County Recreation Board. Sheckles’ statewide affiliations include being appointed as an Executive Board Member of the Kentucky League of Cities, and he has also served two terms as President of the Kentucky Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (KBC-LEO). In March of 2011, Sheckles was also appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council.