Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 8, 2013

Fairview tax to go on ballot

WESTWOOD — Opponents of a 3 percent utilities tax in the Fairview school district have delivered enough petition signatures to put the issue to voters, Boyd County Clerk Debbie Jones said Monday.

A committee gathering the signatures delivered 395 of them Monday morning and deputy clerks had verified 366 by the end of the day, according to Jones.

That is more than twice as many as needed to put the tax on the ballot, she said.

Jones said she will schedule the election for Feb. 19. State law requires the election to be at least 35 days, but not more than 45 days after the signatures are verified.

The single-issue election will cost between $6,000 and $7,000, and the district will have to pay the cost, she said.

To qualify for an election, the petitions had to have at least 10 percent of the number of voters from the district who cast ballots in the most recent presidential election. That comes to 147 signatures.

The school board, which enacted the tax in December, can either go ahead with the election or rescind the levy. Reached Monday afternoon, board member Jeff Preston said it is too early to say what the board will do.

“I’m sure we will take a strong economic look at the cost of an election,” he said.

Preston said the board’s top priority for money raised under the levy would be building a new high school. The tax would cost the average resident $150 annually and would bring in between $300,000 and $700,000 per year, according to officials.

Preston said opponents have circulated “a lot of misinformation” about the levy. Chief among his complaints is the claim that the 3 percent tax is actually a 21 percent tax because it would be levied on seven utilities.

The tax bill would be 3 percent of the combined sum of utility bills — gas, telephone, cell phone, water, electric, cable and dish TV.

“It’s no different from when you go shopping and pay 6 percent on your total purchases, not 18 percent because you went to three different stores.”

With the tax the district would be able to borrow enough to build a $20 million school, he said. “There’s nothing else we could spend it on if we obligated ourselves to build a new school,” he said.

People in Westwood can’t afford the tax, said Melvin “Joe” Weis, a member of the petition committee. “(Petition gatherers) were all saddened by what we saw, people in dire straits, people who find it hard to put food on the table, much less pay more taxes,” he said.

The committee took three days to gather the signatures, he said. “People were well-informed and expecting us when we came ... I think people are very firmly against the proposition to raise their taxes.”

Fairview passed the same levy in 2005 and 2007 and both times voters shot it down. The district is one of 13 in the state that don’t have a utility tax. Many districts that do have the tax, including Russell and Ashland, enacted them in the late 1970s when voters didn’t have the recall option.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2652.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ashland couple indicted on grave violation charges

     A man and a woman from Ashland have been indicted for allegedly stealing brass flower vases from graves at Rose Hill Burial Park.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Shore clerk gives updates on city building bids, sewer project

    City officials may not have to wait much longer to move from their temporary offices on Main Street into a shiny, new building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fate of stray animals in Carter County questioned

    Stray animals in Carter County may be disappearing because no one seems to know exactly where they are going.

    April 22, 2014

  • Recovery center finds home

    The mayor of Grayson said he isn’t concerned about the money a new recovery center will funnel into the city, although he is deeply appreciative of what the proposed facility may be able to offer “people who really need help” recovering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

    April 22, 2014

  • Olive Hill man charged with shooting wife during dispute

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.
    Robert Tackett, 47, of Olive Hill, was lodged in the Carter County Detention Center on Monday, charged with attempted murder-domestic violence, Kentucky State Police at Ashland said.

    April 22, 2014

  • Two of three Greenup commission seats on ballot

    Two of three commission seats are up for grabs in Greenup County this fall, and both will involve primary contests to determine the ballot lineup in the November election.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423attmurder_tackett.jpg Olive Hill man charged with attempted murder

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rotary updated on Alliance

    Ed Neely, president of the Ashland Rotary Club and chairman of the Ashland Alliance, addressed Rotarians in both capacities during the Monday meeting to give an update on the organization’s recent progress.

    April 21, 2014

  • Prater has been satisfying fans’ hunger for 40 years

    Debbie Prater has satisfied thousands of athletes’, parents’ and fans’ snacking desires for nearly 360 months.
    That’s just about 40 years of serving nachos, popcorn, chili dogs, water and soda from Lewis County’s football, basketball and baseball concession stands, and Prater is retiring after this year’s last pitch.

    April 21, 2014