Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


March 20, 2013

HB 1 a good start with special districts

March 20, 2013 —     Kentuckians haven’t had much to cheer about in the 2013 legislative session. It appears that some vital issues won’t be addressed in the final two days later this month.

    But we can take heart in what happened with House Bill 1 which became law on a 98-0 vote in the House and a 36-0 tally in the Senate.

    Differences between the two chambers had to be worked out at the last moment but compromise for the sake of consensus worked in the public’s favor this time, in our opinion.

    Once the bill is signed into law and takes effect, it will start to bring order to the oversight of more than 1,200 special districts in the state – units of local government that do everything from running our public libraries to purifying our drinking water to saving our lives with emergency medical assistance.

    State Auditor Adam Edelen deserves most of the credit for daring to expose what he aptly described as “ghost government” which spends about $2.7 billion annually in taxes and fees and holds $1.3 billion in cash reserves.

    This won’t be the last we will hear of special districts in Frankfort but it should mean an end to surprises that show up on billing statements.

    Henceforth, all such districts will have to report annual budgets to a centralized authority and post them on a state website.

    More importantly, none will be allowed to raise taxes or user fees without a public hearing conducted with elected local governmental bodies like city councils and fiscal courts.

    Districts that don’t comply with the new oversight rules will be subject to compliance audits by Edelen’s office, the cost of which will be borne by the districts themselves.

    We also like the requirement that members of district boards will be required to adopt a code of ethics and acknowledge that it’s not OK to secretly hire your relatives or friends or to buy goods and services from them.

    Fortunately, the state auditor and this newspaper found no examples of mismanagement or waste in reviewing the practices of special districts in Carter County.

    Granted, not all of our districts have taxing authority but those that do apparently are following the rules.

    In Carter County, as in all of Kentucky, shedding light on the inner workings of special districts shows the overwhelming majority of their board members are honest, hard working citizens who volunteer countless hours to serve their neighbors.

    HB 1, hopefully, now puts everyone on the same path.

Text Only
  • Yes, girls can become scientists, engineers

    We applaud the television commercials sponsored by Verizon which gently but effectively rebuke those among us who discourage girls and young women from careers in science, technology and mathematics.

    July 16, 2014

  • High court right on mobile phone ruling

    We don’t always agree with the rulings of the U. S. Supreme Court which is often divided with multiple opinions. But, for the moment, we feel better about the high court because of its recent ruling on searching mobile phones.

    July 9, 2014

  • Would we pay the same high price today?

    As we Americans take a day off from work on Friday to mark the 238th birthday of our country, can we find a few moments to reflect on those who made it happen?

    July 2, 2014

  • Trading Saturday mail for roads is a hoax

    Just when we thought all of the idiotic ideas had emerged from the current Congress, along came another doozy. A Republican leader in the U.S. House of Representatives proposed that Saturday mail delivery be ended and the resulting savings be used to fix roads and bridges across America.

    June 25, 2014

  • Is history repeating itself in Iraq?

    If last week’s news from Iraq left you with a sense of déjà vu, you are not alone. “Déjà vu” is defined as “disagreeable familiarity or sameness” and that certainly fits what appears to be the emergence of another Islamic militant group which took control of two major cities in Iraq.

    June 18, 2014

  • Technology bringing closure to MIA families

    After 58 years in an unmarked grave in a military cemetery in Hawaii, a Kentucky soldier came home last Saturday to his family and a final resting place in his native soil.

    June 11, 2014

  • New state veterans leader a great choice

    Some may criticize Gov. Steve Beshear for appointing former Miss America Heather French Henry as commissioner of Kentucky's Department of Veterans Affairs.

    June 4, 2014

  • As is, Rupp Arena project not worth saving

    When the General Assembly decided last month not to allow state bonds to be used to help fund the Rupp Arena renovation, we said it was unfair because Louisville got state money for the KFC Yum Center four years earlier.

    May 28, 2014

  • Cockfighting is more than animal cruelty

    A recent political issue arose over the visit to a cockfight by U. S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin. The resulting publicity brought cockfighting, which is illegal in Kentucky, back into the public eye.

    May 14, 2014

  • New Fish and Wildlife leader a good choice

    Kentucky’s hunters and anglers were promised last fall that the state’s wildlife agency would clean up its act under a new leader picked in a national search process.

    May 7, 2014