Fiscal Court approves special tax rates; denies extension office rate

Published 4:34 pm Friday, August 25, 2023

The Fiscal Court approved new compensating tax rates for special districts including the Boyle County Library and Conservation District at their meeting on Tuesday. They denied a new rate for the Extension Office, which would have been an increased rate.

Compensating rates adjust how much government agencies tax things that change in value. Since assessed values on real and personal property usually increase, the compensating tax rates usually decrease.

Alethea Bruzek from the Boyle County UK Extension Office presented new compensating tax rates for the court’s approval. She said the new rates would be 9.0 for real property; 21.27 for personal property; and 1.3 for motor vehicles. A rate of 9.0 would mean that $90 for every $100,000 would be taxed.

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Most government agencies’ compensating rates have gone down or stayed the same. Last year the extension district’s rate for real property was 8.3, and this year it would go up to 9.0, which Magistrate Jason Cullen said he estimated to be an additional $300,000.

Cullen said that an actual compensating rate for the extension district would go down from 8.3 to 7.65. Bruzek said the University of Kentucky sets the rates from a state formula and she brings it to the court for approval.

“What plans at the Extension Office would need an additional $300,000 taxpayer dollars?” Cullen asked. “What’s happening out there where that money is needed, because the reason everyone else is going down is because property values have been assessed higher, which means people are paying more taxes already; it’s not like we’re getting less money, it’s the value of the tax is higher so that way the rates should be going down.”

Bruzek said she wasn’t aware of why the rates would be going up. County Attorney Chris Herron said he’s done a little research on the matter. He explained that there’s compensating rates that give a rough estimate of how much money the rate will bring in, and usually those are accurate. But when they aren’t accurate, agencies use a substituting rate, and the extension office has been using various substituting rates.

He said the extension office’s real and tangible property rates have been set too far apart from each other, to where they have to end up using substituting rates.

“There needs to be some kind of plan in place where we’re getting these numbers closer together,” Herron said.

Magistrate Tom Ellis said he believes that the extension office is the only special taxing district that’s been using substituting rates.

“Based on these numbers, they’re going to get $700,000 more than what Boyle County will receive,” Herron said. “Why does it take $700,000 more dollars to run this extension district than it does this whole county?”

Judge Executive Trille Bottom said those answers will have to come from the board at UK. She said the extension board had approved these rates at their last meeting.

Bottom asked Bruzek to talk with the extension board, ask them to listen to the fiscal court meeting to hear magistrates’ concerns, and come back to a meeting with information on why the rate is increasing.

Since numbers are due August 31, the court will have a special called meeting to discuss the matter on Tuesday, August 29 at 1 p.m. in the Fiscal Court room. At that meeting they will also discuss Fire Protection District tax rates, the Humane Society Agreement, and surplus property.

However, magistrates agreed that if the extension board accepts a new compensating rate of 7.65, which would be an actual compensating rate, they would not need to discuss that tax at the meeting.

Library Rates

Boyle County Library Director Georgia de Araujo, who will be retiring soon, presented their 2023-24 rates adopted by the Board of Trustees on July 25. The court approved the rates.

The compensating rate for real property will be going down from 7.8 to 7.4 cents. Personal property will go down from 10.56 to 9.31 cents. Motor vehicle will stay at 3.5 cents, which is a fixed rate.

De Araujo provided some statistics on the past year, which are listed below:

• 99,821 Library visitors.

• Patrons checked out 154,025 physical items.

• Patrons downloaded 65,968 items.

• 1,063 programs and events with a total attendance of 20,513.

• Outreach services to schools included 12 daycares and multiple senior facilities.

• This year was the most successful Summer Reading program ever with 1,111 active participants (children, teens, and adults) and gave “read to win” 3,313 free prize books.

De Araujo said that while the library has a bookmobile and other outreach services, they hope to offer more services in further parts of the county including Perryville and Junction City. She said the library board is beginning the process of creating a new strategic plan, and will be looking at ways to expand to those areas.

Cullen it’s not as easy for people out in the county to get to the library. He said in addition to books from the book mobile, people should have more access to other library services by way of a possible satellite location.

In other business, the court:

• Approved the compensating rate for the Conservation District for 1 cent.

• Passed the second reading of Ordinance 110.4 establishing the updated geographic boundaries for magisterial districts in Boyle County. The court approved the new magistrate map in June, but the changes won’t be in effect until November.

• Made a proclamation for International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31.