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Fire tax gets the ax

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By Robin Bass

Residents and business owners located in Taylorsville’s annexed areas should expect to pay lower taxes if a new interlocal agreement between the city and the fire department is approved next week.

“We have some people paying twice,” said Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Chief Nathan Nation. “This way it’s a more fair situation for everybody.”

Annexed areas of the city include the subdivisions of Highview Estates, Old South Plantation, Pin Oak and the last, and currently undeveloped, phase of River Heights. Businesses that are located in annexed areas include Country Mart and those in the Taylorsville Business Park.

Taxpayers in the annexed sections have been double taxed for fire protection services since their inclusion into the city of Taylorsville by paying a Spencer County Fire Protection tax and Taylorsville City taxes which include a fee for city fire protection.

Nation gave the following example of the savings taxpayers could expect:

“If you own a $150,000 home and a $14,550 car, you are paying the city $261.61 in taxes (for a combination of services including fire protection) and the county fire district $89.55.  Under this proposed interlocal agreement the Spencer County Fire Protection District would remove it’s tax from the property, saving the homeowner $89.55. The City of Taylorsville would then contract with the district for fire protection.”

Taylorsville City Clerk Steve Biven said that in the past Taylorsville has provided nearly $67,000 a year to help fund a portion of the department’s equipment and Nation’s salary. With the interlocal agreement, the city will now contract fire protection services for about $47,000 yearly.  Bivens said all future departmental decisions will also be the sole responsibility of elected members on the fire protection board.

“Now, instead of being a part of our budget, we will be contracting out the service,” said Biven. “Basically it’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

Biven said that residents and business will not notice any difference in the fire protection services they receive and the change will not affect the fire department’s ability to obtain grants.

“When a call comes in to 911, nothing is going to change,” said Nation. “The same people are still going to show up.”

Nation said he does not expect the reduced revenue to have a negative impact on his budget because of the steady growth in county assessments. The fire department’s yearly budget is $600,000.

Residents and business owners with questions about the proposed interlocal agreement between the City of Taylorsville and the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Department are invited to attend a presentation Tuesday at 5 p.m. at City Hall. Public comments will be welcome.

Any agreement voted on by city commissioners and the fire district board must be certified by Kentucky’s Department of Local Government.