Hillview will take portion of insurance premium tax

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By Thomas Barr

 HILLVIEW - The final municipality has opted to take a piece of Bullitt County’s revenue stream off its insurance premium tax.

After not opting to take any of the 5 percent tax imposed a decade ago by Bullitt Fiscal Court, members of the Hillview City Council voted 4-2 to take half of the revenue generated from policies within its corporate limits.

The rate of 2.5 percent will leave county officials with the other half of the tax.

“I think that’s very fair,” mayor Jim Eadens said of the approved rate. “We won’t want to be greedy but we’ve gone 10 years and not touched it.”

Hillview was the lone municipality that didn’t take any of the insurance tax revenue. For that, the city was annually presented a check in the neighborhood of $100,000.

Under the 2.5 percent proposal, estimates are that the city would generate about $350,000 annually. The county would no longer be required to make the $100,000 payment.

Eadens met recently with Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts and deputy judge Lisa Craddock. Although cordial and educational, Eadens said he was sure the county officials were not pleased with the city’s decision.

If the roles were reversed, Eadens said he could understand the county’s concerns.

“We want to work with the county,” said Eadens.

He expected Roberts to be present on Monday for the monthly council meeting but she did not appear. Magistrate Joe Laswell, a regular attendee, said he had no comments on the issue prior to the vote.

Part of the reason behind taking a portion of the revenue was that fiscal court members took no action when the Bullitt County Sanitation District requested a 3 percent annual user fee increase. Instead of voting yes or no, Eadens said he was upset they did nothing until several meetings later. At that time, a 1.5 percent increase was approved for one year.

He was also concerned that county employees received pay increases while he didn’t have the funds to do likewise for his workers.

With the additional funds, Eadens said the city has plenty of projects to use the money on.

There was little discussion among councilmembers.

Jo-Ann Wick, who was not able to attend the special meeting when the rate was set, felt the percentage should be higher.

She wanted to go to 3.5 percent to make the rate more comparable to others; however, a motion had already been cast with the 2.5 percent mark.

Wick voted against the motion.

Councilman David Conn, who is also a county employee, voted against the measure. He said if you started a revenue stream to pay for a particular project, such as the county imposed the insurance tax to pay for a new detention center and courthouse, it would not be fair for others to later come in and take money from those coffers.

For holders of insurance policies in Hillview, there will be no change in the amount paid. Instead of the county getting the entire tax amount, Hillview would receive half.

The ordinance will go into effect on July 1, 2012, with the first quarterly payments due in October.

The county generates over $2.5 million annually in the insurance tax.