Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

October 23, 2013

Olive Hill seeks more tax revenue

By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Journal-Times

Oct. 23, 2013 —     Olive Hill City Council met last Tuesday night and tax revenue was the primary topic of discussion.

    Council unanimously passed the second reading of payroll tax ordinance requiring those employed within the city limits to pay one-half  percent of their earnings as a payroll tax.

    Though the tax had been the subject of heated public discourse for the last two months, the ordinance passed with no opposition.

    The only comment about the tax came from former Council member Linda Lowe, who asked to address the group after the measure was approved.

    “I was on the Council for 10 years so I know what it’s like to have to make tough decisions. I just want to thank the Council for doing what needed to be done,” said Lowe.

    Council also unanimously voted to seek a four percent increase in property taxes for the upcoming 2014 calendar year.

    Last year’s tax rate was $.2287 cents per $100 property assessment. With the increase, property owners will pay 24 cents per $100 valuation if the measure passes.

    Not everyone agrees with the Council’s plan to raise property taxes, however.

    “I know we need the revenue but I think we should find ways to cut our costs as well,” said Olive Hill home owner Maggie Lewis. “We’re falling into a dangerous pattern of tax, tax, tax and spend, spend, spend.”

    State law requires City Council to hold a public hearing for community input regarding the tax increase before it can be approved.

    The Council also unanimously voted to hire former Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Conn to succeed George Hogg as the city attorney.

    Earlier in the week, Mayor Kenny Fankell informed the Journal-Times of Hogg’s plans to retire effective Oct. 31.

    The mayor did not reveal his recommendation for Hogg’s replacement until Tuesday’s meeting.

    Hogg has served as the city’s legal counsel since 2003.

    Conn most recently served as the Commonweath’s Attorney for Carter, Elliot, and Morgan counties but lost his re-election bid to Brandon Ison.

    Conn’s tenure will begin effective Nov. 1. He will be compensated a flat rate of $125 per hour for legal services provided to the city.

    Olive Hill City Council will hold its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Senior Community Center.

    Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.