Perryville votes to lower property tax rate

Published 8:33 pm Friday, August 30, 2019

Perryville City Council has unanimously decided to lower its real estate property taxes by 10% as a way to help residents “in a minor way” who have been paying significantly higher water bills for the past two years.

“We all know that water is an issue, so here is our chance as leaders to say, ‘We feel your pain. Here’s what we can do to help in a minor way,’” said council member Adam Gray.

Tax rates for personal property and vehicle and watercraft rates will remain the same as last year’s rates — 39.37 cents and 40 cents per $100, respectively.

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During a special called meeting Thursday night to discuss the tax rates for 2019, Mayor Brian Caldwell said they had three options — keep the current rates, take a compensating rate (which could either raise or lower the rate depending on property values) or raise property taxes up to 4%.

“And we can just set a rate, right?” asked Gray.

He said he didn’t want to choose taking the compensating rate because the council didn’t have the figures of what that would be, so there was a possibility that property taxes would increase. “I’d hate to say do it and it actually raises taxes,” Gray said.

Gray immediately went to work calculating what the city budgeted and received for 2018 and how it could reduce the property tax rate without digging into the city’s budget too drastically.

While Gray worked quietly on the figures, Mayor Brian Caldwell told the council, “Once you guys decide what the rate you want to go with, you can go to the KLC (Kentucky League of Cities) to make the calculations. … But I don’t think anybody’s in favor of a 4% increase.”

“But I’m in favor of lowering them, so I’ll throw out a rate,” Gray said as he was punching in the numbers on his calculator.

As he worked, Caldwell said, “Also keep in mind that the insurance premium tax that we receive basically offsets the free garbage pick up that the city provides. … But I’ve always been like you, I’ve always been in favor” of lowering taxes.

Gray looked up from his papers and said he had just figured 30.42 cents per $100 of real property was 10% lower than last year’s rate of 33.8 cents, and would work in the city’s budget.

“It’s only going to save you $34 (on a $100,000 home) but $34 is you don’t have to pay to the government.”

“That right!” said council member Susan Parks. “It’s almost like a morale booster.”

Gray said, “It also gives off that we’re going to do more with your money. We’re going to do more with less, which I think that’s probably why we got voted in. People appreciate that.”

Gray made the motion to lower real property rates from 33.8 to 30.42 cents per $100; and keep last year’s rates for personal property and motor vehicle and watercraft. Parks seconded the motion and the council voted unanimously to set the rates which will be given the first reading during the council’s regular meeting at 7 p.m., Sept. 5.