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County lowers taxes second year in a row

Photo courtesy of JOSIE BAILEY SHELTER DEDICATION: The shelter at the Puncheon Battlefield Community Park was formally dedicated to Randall Risner. Risner, who passed away in 2019, was instrumental in the planning and securing the funding for the Half Mountain park, pushing for the preservation and remembrance of the historical events of the Civil War battle that occurred there.

SALYERSVILLE – The Magoffin County Fiscal Court met in regular session on Tuesday, lowering the tax rates and honoring two local World War II heroes.

In the July 20 meeting, the fiscal court approved resolutions naming a bridge at the mouth of Trace Branch on Kentucky Route 542 “Staff Sergeant Virgle Allen Memorial Bridge” and a section of Kentucky Route 114 from mile point 0.0 to 1.049 in Magoffin County “Staff Sergeant William Franklin Preston Memorial Road.” The resolutions passed on Tuesday are available in next week’s paper.

The court held the second reading of the amendment to the Alcoholic Beverage Ordinance, basically making it the same as the city’s so restaurants outside of the city limits can sell alcoholic drinks. Magoffin County Judge/Executive Matt Wireman noted in the June meeting that the only difference between this ordinance and the city’s is that the county’s will exclude Sunday alcohol sales.

The fiscal court also acknowledged the in-kind matching contribution of equipment of the Magoffin County Senior Citizens.

Melodye Stephens with the Magoffin County Sheriff Department presented the 2020 tax settlement, general, oil, gas, unmined coal and franchise, noting she was pleased with the settlement. She said the $3.5 million in property taxes and $600,000 worth of franchise were off less than $10, and they had a collection rate for property taxes at 90.65%. The court approved the tax settlement.

The court decided to drop the real and personal property tax rates for fiscal year 2021, dropping real property another cent, making the rate 46 cents per $100,000, decreasing the personal property rate from 50 cents to 46 cents. Judge Wireman explained to the court that they will be able to absorb the loss of funding in the budget by continuing to streamline efficiency. Last year, they dropped the real property taxes by half a cent and personal property taxes 12 cents.

As a formality, they also adopted the same rate for motor vehicle and watercraft taxes, at 16.3 cents, which hasn’t changed in decades.

The court approved to officially name the horse park located on Route 460 at the “Magoffin County Horse Park,” so that in the event funding becomes available, they would already have an official name for the park in the minutes.

The fiscal court approved a petition to close Tommy Cooley Road, change the road name of David Bailey Cemetery Road to David Marshall Cemetery Road, which had been named incorrectly, and to adopt Robert Patrick Drive into the county road system. They also confirmed the road name of John C. Conley Road is in the county road system.

Under communications, Wireman said the fireworks show was one of the best in our history and the Fourth of July festivities went well.

“Everyone was starving for something to do and everybody came to town,” Wireman said, noting that the collaboration between the county and city helped make this year’s festivities a success.

Founders’ Day is coming up, and this year will be the first year in many years the local festival will go by the traditional name. Judge Wireman thanked the Magoffin County Historical Society for allowing the name to be changed back to Founders’ Day. The festival changed to Heritage Days in 2014 when the Historical Society passed the planning and hosting to the city. Wireman noted they are still looking for sponsors of the events, hoping to be able to have fireworks at the end of the festival week.

He also said the company the state hired to clean up debris from this year’s winter storm should be in the county in the next couple of weeks to clean state and county roadways.

Wireman said they know the roads and ditches are needing more work, but said every step of progress they make, Mother Nature hits them, again, with falling trees and flooding affecting the county garage and equipment, as well. He said that they are fighting the same fight as people in the community, but promised crews will be coming as soon as possible.

He said Big Sandy ADD has submitted the application to extend the county water system to more residences currently not in the system to KIA and they are hoping to hear back from funding for those projects.

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 going around, now, Wireman asked that everyone in the community that can to be vaccinated.

“That’s how we stopped polio,” Wireman said. “It didn’t happen with people saying, ‘we ain’t going to do it.’ They went and got it and they eradicated it. This is a choice. There’s no mandates on it, just guidance, but I don’t want to see people make the wrong choice and then have to visit them at the funeral home.”

He noted that his children, wife and himself have all been vaccinated and stated, “I think this is the only way we’ll ever get back to some sense of normalcy.”

The next regularly scheduled fiscal court meeting is tentatively slated for August 17 at 6 p.m. at the Magoffin County Court House Albert Patrick Building.


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