By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Nov. 20, 2013 — Olive Hill City Council voted 4-3 – with Mayor Kenny Fankell casting the tie-breaking vote – at a special meeting Friday night to increase the city’s property tax rate.
Council’s action means the new rate will be 2.4 cents per $100 valuation, four percent above the current rate.
Initially, the required second reading of the ordinance was followed by silence as no Council member offered a motion to adopt.
The delay came as a surprise to Mayor Fankell and City Clerk Angie Owens.
“We are going to be in for a world of trouble very shortly,” said Fankell.
“We could have already had these tax bills out if you didn’t want to take the increase,” said Owens. “It would be really great in the future if you would take the process into account.”
When presented with the choice of the compensating rate or a four percent increase at last month’s regular meeting, Council unanimously voted in favor of the increase.
The compensating rate would be a smaller increase designed to maintain the level of tax revenue with the previous year.
“It’s inappropriate to put a cost on us when people outside our city are taking advantage of our services and wiping our services clean,” said Council member Glenn Meade.
“It’s only a one cent increase per one hundred dollars,” said Council member Jerry Callihan. “If it’s going to hold up the bills being sent out, I think we ought to go ahead and pass it.”
Council member Matt Kiser said:
“All I continue to hear is that if we don’t pass this, someone is going to get laid off. I’m getting tired of the guys coming up to me and asking whether or not they are going to lose their jobs.”
“If it were me and I kept hearing that rumor, my morale would go into the dumpster. In the long term that affects our city just as much as anything else,” he added.
Callihan then moved to reconsider the second reading of the property tax ordinance. Joining him in voting “yes” were Kiser and Allen Stapleton.
Voting “no” were Council members Randy Tackett, Enoch Hicks and Meade.
Mayor Fankell then broke the tie by voting in favor.
In other business, Council tabled action concerning old ordinances relating to the city attorney’s position until new language could be drafted to guarantee that the Council would have final say on filling the position.
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.