Riley wants a review of county occupational tax

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By Robin Bass

Elk Creek Magistrate John Riley asked that fiscal court review the county’s budget at the April 20 meeting to see if the occupational tax could be lowered.

“In 2007, we found ourselves in a very different budget crisis,” said Riley. “We were past the deadline to impose an insurance premium tax to get us out of the hole we were in. At that point, our only option was an occupational tax.”

Riley said he remembers county leaders making a commitment to lower or repeal the tax if it was found that the county did not need the money. So far, fiscal court has not had any discussions on how to accomplish that, said Riley.

Spencer County Judge Executive David Jenkins openly expressed frustration with the magistrate Monday morning over what he interpreted as Riley asking vague questions about the county’s budget.

Jenkins said now is not the time to be reducing or revoking the year-old tax because the county has yet to be reimbursed from FEMA for funds spent during recent disasters. The county is on tap to receive approximately $600,000 from the federal government for expenses incurred during the 2008 flood and February’s ice storm.

Jenkins said that occupational taxes will be added as a discussion item to the April 20 agenda as requested. Other fiscal court news:

• Approved to spend $2,565 to move the existing HVAC unit in the county building located behind the courthouse to the second floor. Moving the unit and correcting duct work will allow for better air circulation and help control the temperature on the first floor offices and voter machine storage area.

• Approved deliquent tax bill sale for May 4 at 10 a.m.

• Received grants totalling $10,000 to clean up Snyder and Rivals bluffs.

• Approved a portable toilet to be placed at Ray Jewell at SCYBA expense.

• Appointed Samuel Crafton to the library board.

• Re-appointed Ray Wilson Armstrong to the fire protection board.