Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

January 1, 2013

In Your View

ASHLAND — Approval of utility tax is premature

I just finished reading the story on the utility tax for the Fairview Schools, and I had a few thoughts that might interest those involved.

First, let me say that I am not necessarily opposed to a utility tax. I was a board member for eight years, and fought for passage of it, the first time it went on the ballot. However, times are different. The economy is sagging and many people are struggling to make ends meet, which was not the case 15 years ago.

Before I support or oppose the tax, I would like the board to give us more information. In the story, I did not read where the added tax revenue from the upcoming Melody Mountain project was mentioned. This construction will add greatly to the school system’s tax base, as it did when Walmart, the surrounding restaurants, and strip mall were built.  This large amount of tax revenue for the district must be considered before adding new taxes to residents.

Taxpayers might agree to the tax if that new construction does not generate enough revenue, and they’re assured that the money would actually go to renovate the school, instead of being used for sports programs or purchasing property.  Also, it should be made public how many out of district students attend Fairview, which Westwood residents support with their tax dollars, and how many out of state students attend.

The district is not even paid by the state for students who do not live in Kentucky, so their education is paid 100 percent by Westwood tax dollars.

Once the numbers are out on the increased tax base from Melody Mountain, then the utility tax might be needed, but until then, it may be premature for the board to place that burden upon Westwood residents.

Ben Millard, Ashland

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