Sept. 25, 2013 —
Olive Hill City Council did an about face Tuesday night and dropped consideration of a proposed 1.5 percent payroll tax.
About 60 persons attended the meeting to voice disapproval of the proposed tax on each person who works inside the city limits. A majority of dissenters were school system employees and postal workers.
Those who spoke against the tax said it was unfair to ask those working within the city to pay because residents receiving government benefits wouldn’t be subject to the same tax.
The City Council was clearly divided on the issue.
“This community is going to have to make some hard choices. If you don’t want this tax that’s fine, but that means you’re going to lose some of your services,” said Glenn Meade.
“I don’t want to go any higher than .75 percent with a tax,” said Jerry Callihan.
“I can’t vote for a tax when everyone says no, but we have to find a way to bring revenue into this town. We are the laughing stock of Eastern Kentucky right now,” said Matt Kiser.
“I can’t support a tax either,” said Allen Stapleton, who surprisingly changed his position after initially agreeing with the idea of a payroll tax during a July work session.
After nearly two hours of back-and-forth discussion, Council member Glenn Meade moved to withdraw the payroll tax ordinance from consideration. The motion passed unanimously.
Mayor Kenny Fankell then announced that a special revenue committee will be appointed to discuss alternative means of making up the city’s expected $60,000 budget shortfall.
No guarantees were made by the mayor and Council, however, that a payroll tax would not be reconsidered if no other feasible means of revenue generation could be found.
Fankell also stated that if a solution is not reached within three weeks, he would begin taking necessary steps to ensure the city doesn’t exceed its current financial resources.