County sets tax rates

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SALYERSVILLE – The Magoffin County Fiscal Court met in special session on Thursday, August 31, setting the tax rates and discussing the recent 911 enhancements.

In general business the court agreed to transfer $30,000 to the jail fund and $20,000 to the LGEA fund, both from the general fund.

Magoffin County Judge Executive Dr. Charles Hardin motioned to advertise to have 11 dump sites cleaned, using grants from the state. He said the county doesn’t have the man power to do it. The court passed the motion unanimously.

Magistrate Matthew Wireman (District 3) motioned to set the real property tax rate at 49 cents per $100 assessed value and to keep the personal property taxes the same as last year, at 69 cents per $100.

Wireman told the court that he doesn’t want Magoffin to be the only county in the Commonwealth at the capped rates when they are attempting to bring businesses into the Industrial Park.

Hardin said he didn’t mind voting for Wireman’s motion, but he explained that Magoffin’s rates were higher because property values are assessed lower, which he said means they don’t have to send as much money to the state level.

Wireman told the Independent that for the past two years the court was forced into taking the compensating rate, and last year that meant the real property tax rate hit the maximum allowed by the constitution, at 50 cents per $100. 

He said that by taking the 1-cent rate decrease, the revenue will be closer to where it was when he took office in 2014.

Tax rates are based on assessment values of property and since 2014 Magoffin County’s assessed property values have decreased by over $70 million. With the decrease in values, compensating rates increased to in theory make up the difference in revenue. Wireman explained that with the increase in tax rates, the collection percentage decreased, with people basically unable to pay. 

He said the rates he proposed last week is projected to collect $1,301.60 more than they collected in 2014. 

“We can’t be in this spot where we’re taxing people to death,” Wireman said. “The county has to operate, but if we keep increasing the rates, people won’t be able to spend that money here. There has to be taxes and a revenue stream because we have to have services, but these rates will put us back where we were when I took office before the other rates increased revenues.”

The proposed tax rate passed without opposition, though Hardin emphasized that the tax rate decrease was only 1 cent.

In other news, Hardin announced that he has hired Debbie West as the office manager and finance officer within his administrative staff for the county judge’s office.

He also addressed complaints concerning the 911 redistricting, explaining that by enhancing the system, they will be able to receive the tax revenue for 911 from cell phones, which currently goes to the Kentucky State Police Pikeville Post. He said the enhanced system will also allow emergency responders to be able to know exactly where callers are located when they call, explaining that if a kid or someone from out of town calls 911, they will be able to get to them faster. 

Hardin said people can continue to use their old address if they want to, but he recommended they use the address the post office recognizes. 

“I’m sorry if it offends you and if you have to change [your address], but it’s worth it to me to get the increased revenue,” Hardin said.