Local Option would Insure Quality of Life in Our Communities

By Bill Sheckles, Former Mayor of Bardstown

Mayor Sheckles

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.

What People Are Saying

  • …embodies common-sense, good government principles that most conservatives and Republicans profess to support. It puts power at the local level closest to the people; is taxation with direct representation since the citizens have the right to vote on it; has high accountability by being tied to specific purposes; taxes consumption instead of savings or work; and sunsets instead of continuing indefinitely.

    John David Dyche, conservative columnist
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • …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
  • 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
  • …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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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