Tribune-Courier News Editor
With state and federal funding reduced, Marshall County residents may see an increase in their property tax levies.
Judge-Executive Mike Miller said he supports the increase of the levy to add funds to the general fund for local government programs.
“We haven’t taken the .04 percent levy that is allowable by law since 1998,” Miller said. “If we had taken it every year, we would be $600,000 to $650 better off than we are right now. We have to stay up with inflation because things like gas, blacktop, equipment and labor costs have all gone up. We’re feeling it right now.”
County Commissioner Misti Drew said she is opposed to an increase in taxes.
“We have a lot of opportunities at the local level to cut spending and waste before we consider increasing taxes.” Drew said.
Drew said the county could save money with a change of policy on take-home vehicles and use a website to publish delinquent property taxes and recover outstanding debts.
However, according to KRS 134.420, the county must publish all remaining tax claims subject to lien in a county newspaper.
Miller said the tax increase would bring an additional $35,000 to $50,000 annually. He proposed putting the additional revenue into a depleted reserve account.
“I don’t know if the Fiscal Court will approve it. My job is to lay out the facts. They will vote yes or no as they see fit, but I hope they see where I am coming from.”
Miller said the Marshall County Board of Education regularly raises taxes.
“You don’t see people screaming and hollering when they raise taxes because people want a first class education system. Their state and federal funding has been cut, and it’s the same with county government. Our expenses go up every year, but local revenue has been flat since 1998.”
Drew said the county has found ways to reduce expenses, citing a streamlining of operations at the animal shelter, the presence of fuel tanks at the sheriff’s office and a reduction of animal control officers from three dog wardens to two officers. She added more needed to be done to cut costs.
“We can reduce manpower through technology,” Drew said. “There is technology available to track work orders and how much they cost in each department. Right now, for example, we think we have a pretty good special projects department, but if we can track each work order in terms of cost or manpower, we might find more efficient ways of handling county business.”