Lebanon Jct. increases occupational withholding

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Rate to go from .8 percent to 1 percent for those working in the city

By Alex Wimsatt

 LEBANON JUNCTION - Everyone who pays occupational taxes to the city of Lebanon Junction will find a little more taken out of their paychecks starting next year.

During the October regular meeting of the Lebanon Junction City Council, council members voted 5-1 in favor of an ordinance to raise the city’s occupational tax rate from .8 to 1 percent.

Council members Larry Dangerfield, Randall Logsdon, Ozzie Maraman, Steve Masden and Allie Phillips voted to adopt the ordinance. 

The only council member to vote against the measure was Tim Sanders, who expressed reluctance toward the proposal when it was first put forward, stating that he was “open minded,” but he needed to be persuaded.

Sanders said was not convinced the city needs the additional revenue, adding that while he thinks his fellow council members have the city’s best interest at heart, he simply doesn’t agree the city needs the additional revenue. 

“It’s been implied we’re getting in a pinch, we’re not in a pinch,” he said, adding that he doesn’t foresee the city incurring any additional expenses in the coming year.

The vote came three months after Masden first proposed the increase to help the city become more financially solvent. 

Much of Masden’s motivation for proposing the rate increase stemmed from concerns that the city might not be in a position to keep up with rising costs and unexpected expenditures.

One of the examples he used was the $200,000 contract city officials recently approved to have city water tanks maintained over the next decade. 

Masden also mentioned the railroad crossing at the Pilot Travel Center off Highway 61 near Interstate 65. Earlier this year the city had to pay nearly $15,000 to repair the crossing. another unforeseen expense that was not budgeted. 

“Nobody wants to increase any taxes, but if you’re spending more you need to make sure you’re taking in enough to cover it,” Masden said. “I didn’t want us to get to zero before we did something.”

Masden said that while the council will continue to closely monitor spending, he’s confident the additional revenue from the occupational tax increase will make the city more financially solvent and allow the city to continue providing necessary services. 

“It’s a good thing. Not everybody will agree with that, but it is,” Masden said. “We have to continue to watch our spending, but we should be alright.”

In his final remarks during the council meeting, Masden made a point to state that he works in Lebanon Junction and pays the same occupational taxes as everyone else who works in the city.

Lebanon Junction began imposing its occupational license fee in the mid 1990s. 

Much of the occupational tax revenue the city collects is used as a safety net of sorts for various city and water and sewer expenses.

Occupational revenue is kept in a special account that can only be tapped with the council’s approval.  

The occupational fee is the largest source of revenue for the city.

When the fee was first imposed it was set at half a percent. The City Council raised the rate to .8 percent in 2003. 

Just for comparison, Mount Washington’s occupational tax rate is 1 percent, while Hillview imposes a 1.5 percent occupational tax, according to figures from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development web site. 

Shepherdsville’s occupational tax rate was recently raised to 1.5 percent after its council voted to increase the rate from 1 percent to combat the city’s financial woes.

At Lebanon Junction’s new rate, a person employed within the city who earns $400 a week will pay $4 of his or her check in occupational taxes. The change from the previous rate means an increase of 80 cents per week for this employee. 

The new tax rate will take effect on January 1. Occupational taxes are collected quarterly.