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Hillview considers taking insurance tax

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 HILLVIEW - The lone city to not take a portion of the county’s insurance premium tax might be having some serious second thoughts.

And some recent developments may have made city officials take a second look at whether it should take a portion of the funds.

Hillview councilmember Kim Whitlock inquired about what would be required to take the funds and how much the city might obtain.

Currently, the county has a 5 percent insurance premium tax on all policies other than health, retirement or investments.

Seven of the eight cities take from 3-5 percent with the county getting any difference.

The county generates over $2.5 million annually from the tax.

City attorney Mark Edison said that Hillview receives just over $100,000 annually from the county for not taking any portion of the insurance tax.

Mayor Jim Eadens said he is unable to get an answer on how much is generated annually out of Hillview. However, an estimate he has heard was around $700,000.

Even if the city took half of that amount, Eadens said it would generate an additional $240,000 since Hillview would no longer receive the donation from the county.

Eadens said he was never in favor of taking the funds from the county. However, some recent actions have made him change his mind.

First, fiscal court would not allow the Bullitt County Sanitation District to impose a 3 percent user fee increase for its customers. Instead, Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts encouraged the district to look at its ability to impose its own tax on property owners.

“We’re taxed enough,” said Eadens, who called that a crazy idea to impose a new tax on many people throughout the county who do not have sewer service.

Second, the county gave its employees a 50-cent an hour increase while Hillview workers have not seen a raise in three years.

“I don’t know how much longer we should be here and not participate in it,” said Eadens.

If the city is interested in taking a portion, Edison said there are steps that must be followed and timelines to meet.

The state department of insurance must be notified through a city’s ordinance 100 days prior to July 1. Realistically, Edison said the city is looking to get its paperwork approved and published by the end of February.

Councilman David Conn, who is also a county employee, said the city should get some more definite figures before the matter is discussed further.

If the city moves forward, taxpayers would see no difference in their bills. Instead of the county getting the entire insurance tax premium, the city would take whatever percentage it approves.

The tax was imposed over 10 years ago as a way to finance the new detention center and courthouse. The funds generated that exceed those debt payments go into the rest of the general fund.