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City ups taxes maximum amount allowed without a ballot

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By Shannon Brock

In a turn of events, the Taylorsville City Commission voted last week to take a 4 percent revenue increase and raise real and personal property tax rates.

Real property rates will increase to 15.9 cents per $100 of assessed value and personal property rates will increase to 19.77 cents per $100 of assessed value.
For example, a citizen whose home is valued at $100,000 will pay the city $159, up $11 from last year. A citizen with personal property valued at $100,000 would pay the city $197.70, up 10 cents from last year.
Commissioner Beverly Ingram made a motion to take the full 4 percent increase. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Jack Proctor, and after discussion, passed by a vote of 4-1. Mayor Don Pay voted no, with commissioners Kathy Spears and Ellen Redmon joining Ingram and Proctor in voting yes.
The commission voted 4-1 on Aug. 13 to leave the real and property tax rates the same as last year. At that meeting, Pay, Spears, Redmon and Proctor voted in favor of leaving the rates unchanged; Ingram voted no.
However, at the public hearing on the tax rates — at which no members of the public showed up to speak — City Clerk Steve Biven informed the commission that if the real property tax rate were left the same, the personal property rate would have to be lowered, in part because the personal property assessments increased by 6.44 percent from last year.
According to Kentucky Revised Statute 132.029(1): “In the event that the tax rate applicable to real property levied by a city or urban-county government will produce a percentage increase in revenue from personal property less than the percentage increase in revenue from real property, the city or urban-county government may levy a tax rate applicable to personal property which will produce the same percentage increase in revenue from personal property as the percentage increase in revenue from real property.”
Essentially, the percentage increase of real property revenue must be similar to the percentage increase of personal property revenue.
If the real property rate had been left the same — 14.8 cents per $100 of assessed value — then the personal property rate would have been required to be lowered to 18.41 cents per $100 of assessed value.
“If you keep the real property the same, then you have lower the personal property rate and bring in about $1,200 less than last year,” Biven said.
This sparked a conversation regarding the city’s budget shortfalls and projected flat revenue.
Comptroller Randy McConnell confirmed that the city’s general fund was approximately $30,000 over budget last year.
“I think we’re going to take another hit this year,” McConnell said. “I think we’re going to go in the hole again. There’s nowhere to cut.”
Ingram asked if the commission was “happy” with the rates and revenue where it was.
“Well, we’re going to have to change something,” Pay said. “If we leave the real property the same, the personal property has to drop.”
The increased rates are projected to bring in about $9,675 more than last year.
“That extra $10,000 that we’re going to bring in, that’s not going to help much,” Ingram said.
Biven pointed out that if the city had taken increases in the past, it would have a base upon which the rates would grow.
“If you had done that in the past, it would grow,” Biven said.
The last time the city’s real property tax rate increased was from 2003 to 2004. Since then, the real property tax rate has either decreased or stayed the same.
The real property tax rate has been 14.8 cents per $100 of assessed value since 2007.
The city’s personal property tax rate last increased from 2005 to 2006 and has decreased or remained the same each year since.
Upon first reading of the tax rate ordinance, the 4 percent revenue increase passed 4-1.
The commission met on Friday afternoon for a second reading, and that reading passed by a vote of 4-1 as well, making the tax rates official for the coming year.