Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 10, 2013

Fairview school board’s final decision on tax likely to come Monday

Mike James
CNHI News Service

WESTWOOD — A final decision on a 3 percent utilities tax in the Fairview school district will probably come on Monday, a board member said.

The board has scheduled a meeting for 5:30 p.m. that day to decide its fate, board chairman John Burke said. “We will meet Monday to discuss the options and we will either rescind or it will go to a vote,” he said.

Burke didn’t say which position he will take. “I’m just one of five board members,” he said.

The board has scheduled a 4:30 p.m. open house at Fairview High School preceding its meeting to decide on the fate of a utilities tax. The open house will last until 5:30 p.m., when the meeting starts and will not involve any discussion or decision-making by the board. The purpose of the open house is to show district residents the condition of the high school building, Burke said.

The announcement comes a day after Superintendent Bill Musick sent a notice to Boyd County Clerk Debbie Jones that the board planned a vote to rescind the tax later this month. Musick also said board members had told him that was their intent.

If the tax goes to a vote, it would be in a special election and the district would have to pay for it. Jones has estimated the cost of the election at between $6,000 and $7,000.

The board would face an uphill battle convincing voters to accept the tax. Opponents filed petitions with 366 valid signatures to get the issue on the ballot — taking just three days to collect more than twice as many as needed. District voters nixed previous utility taxes in 2005 and 2007.

The tax would be levied on all utilities, including gas, water, electric, telephone, cell phone, satellite and cable TV. It would bring anywhere from $300,000 to $700,000 per year.

The board enacted the tax last month but state law allows voters to step in if opponents can gather enough petition signatures.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.