Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

September 16, 2013

Olive Hill City Council

Crowd expected for payroll-tax discussion

Mike James
The Independent

OLIVE HILL — City officials expect an overflow crowd to weigh in on a proposed payroll tax and will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Olive Hill Elementary School gymnasium for a vote on the tax.

Along with its regular monthly business, the council will discuss the 1.5 percent tax to which it gave preliminary approval in August.

“When Grayson had a meeting (to discuss a similar tax), they had 350 people in the East Carter Middle School gym,” Mayor Kenny Fankel said. “I don’t think we’ll have that many, but probably more than we can accommodate at our regular site.”

It is likely there will be calls to decrease the rate, perhaps to 1 percent, according to Fankel. “A lot of the consensus in town is that 1.5 percent is too high,” he said.

Council member Glenn Meade, who introduced the ordinance, said a 1.5 percent tax could bring in $125,000 per year.

Fankel said he is still working on getting his own estimates. “I feel we could get by with 1 percent,” he said.

The tax was introduced at the same meeting as the 2013-14 budget, which cut about $11,600 from police, fire, sanitation, street and city administration departments and $2,000 from the recreation budget, according to Fankel.

“We’re a small town ... if you want a 24-hour police department, it costs,” he said.

Revenues have been shrinking in recent years after severe floods depressed property values and the city lost businesses, he said. “To continue the services we have, we’ve got to generate more money.”

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