Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

October 2, 2013

Olive Hill Council once again settles on payroll tax

OCT. 2, 2013 —

After two hours of deliberating various revenue options last Thursday night, the Olive Hill City Council eventually settled right back where it started – on an occupational payroll tax.

A special committee appointed by Mayor Kenny Fankell was on hand and offered various suggestions for raising money, many of which involved the sale of surplus property, such as the airport, to provide a one-time boost to the city’s coffers.

If we have assets that we can sell for market value, regardless of what special interest groups might want, including ones that I’m a part of, then we have to make tough decisions as a community and liquidate them if possible,” said Jonathan Lewis.

The consensus between the City Council, the committee and those in attendance was that a payroll tax is the most feasible solution raise city revenues over the long term.

According to committee estimates, a one-half percent occupational tax would bring in approximately $120,000 in additional yearly revenue – roughly double the current budget shortfall.

The occupational tax is the only tool that small governments have to raise revenues over the long term,” said Asst. Fire Chief Jeremy Rodgers.

One Olive Hill resident in particular communicated a strong sentiment shared by those in favor of the tax.

We need to be good citizens. I would be ashamed of myself to come make a living in a city that provides utilities and services and not be willing to give a tiny bit out of my check to help fund fire and police protection,” said Richard Short.

Selling the city-owned utilities was also discussed by the Council and those who attended the meeting. Such a move would carry some potential cost-savings, but would also come with drawbacks.

It may save the city money on having to upgrade equipment, but all that cost will just get passed on to the rate payers if AEP and American Water have to come in and put a lot of money into the system,” said Jerry Callihan.

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