Danville lowers insurance premium tax back to 8%; city hears about mental health program

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Danville City Commission passed the second reading of Ordinance 2007 to lower the insurance premium tax at their meeting on March 13.

In a previous meeting, Finance Director Leigh Compton had proposed reducing the tax from 10% to 8%. She explained that around the time of the pandemic, the city increased insurance premium tax from 8% to 10%.

The city wanted to generate $300,000 to $400,000 more income. Compton said they exceeded that amount significantly since then, partly from inflation and increases in individual premium rates.

Email newsletter signup

Compton said reducing the tax would not be hugely detrimental to the city’s revenues. She said if reduced to 8%, the average annual loss would only be about $70,000, which the city could absorb considering their overall budget.

A 10% rate for Danville is very high compared to cities of similar size. Cities at 8% include Richmond, Georgetown, and Lawrenceburg. Louisville and Lexington are at 5%.

The change will go into effect for the next fiscal year in July.

Mental Health resources

Danville Independent Schools Superintendent Gregory Ross explained the Care Solace program and their mission of making mental health resources more accessible.

“Since Covid we have really seen a rise in mental health situations with our students,” Ross said. “It’s not that it wasn’t there, but it has become more visible and prevalent. We want to be able to address it as soon as possible.”

Ross provided data to the commission showing that many families have difficulty finding professionals and scheduling appointments with them. Care Solace acts as an extension of the school system’s existing mental health support system and creates a network with both local and national mental health professionals. The program provides care for students and families in need within 24 hours. The program costs Danville Schools $7,500 per year.

“It is an amazing program I want you to be aware of,” Ross said. “I hope that we as a community can take advantage of it. When you do it as an entire area it can get expensive. Maybe if the city did it for city workers, the fiscal court did it for county workers, all those types of things, we could really service the Danville community.”

Mayor James Atkins is open to enrolling the program and is having City Manager Earl Coffey and the human resources department look into it further. Ross had also presented the same idea to the Fiscal Court.

During the city manager report, Coffey stated the city has been looking into grants to provide mitigation to businesses affected by construction downtown. Research is still underway.

In other news, the commission:

• Passed the second reading of Ordinance 2006 for a zone change at 2170 Shakertown Road for 24 acres from agriculture to institutional campus district at Danville Christian Academy. This land is not being used for agriculture, so the change brings it into compliance.

• Passed the second reading of Ordinance 2008, which gives local limits to sanitary sewer pretreatment.

• Awarded a bid of $2,687,251 from Pace Contracting for phase 1 of improvements to the Jennie Rogers building. Improvements will include renovating the building bathrooms and child care areas. It was the only bid received for the project and roughly $270,000 over the city’s budget for the project. City Engineer Josh Morgan hopes that the price can be negotiated down after it is awarded.        

The commission made the following appointments:

• Jennifer Broadwater to the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau, her term expires on March 1, 2026.

• Sarah Berry and Ernest Dunn to the Parks and Recreation Committee, their terms expire on March 31, 2027

• Terry Carter to the Housing Authority Board, term expires March 1, 2027.