Tax talk delayed until mid-January

-A A +A
By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - After learning a little more about the size of the Bullitt County Sanitation District, fiscal court members seemed to back off any mention of a tax being leveled by the special district.

However, Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts is asking for a copy of the district’s latest audit.

Earlier in December, sanitation manager Jerry Kennedy presented a proposal to allow user fees to be increased roughly 3 percent over each of the next three years for those consuming more than 2,000 gallons of water.

The rates would still be comparable to other sewer operations in the region.

The district had not raised rates in the past seven years.

However, when magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh’s motion to allow the user fee rates to increase died without a second, Roberts encouraged the sanitation board to look at its own option of raising revenue - a special tax in which fiscal court would have no control.

After the meeting, Kennedy and board chairman Jim Hamilton said the district had no intention to impose any tax, especially since it would cover everyone in its service territory.

However, Kennedy said at the time that there must be money generated to maintain and upgrade the system, some of the plants exceeding 50 years of age.

On Tuesday, Stave Mill Road resident Geneva Mahoney said the economy was tough enough on people without facing a new tax.

Plus, she said people who will probably never get sewers would be facing the tax.

“Users should pay,” said Mahoney. “No one else should.”

County attorney Monica Robinson said in the ordinance creating the district, fiscal court maintained certain controls, such as approving or amending user fees. The court, however, would have no control if the district decided it wanted to impose the property tax on those who live in the service territory.

She said the confusion on Dec. 6 might have arisen because the court members thought the sanitation district only covered a small portion of the county.

In reality, Kennedy said the district covers anything not served in a 201 sewer plan and the incorporated cities of Mount Washington, Shepherdsville, Lebanon Junction, Hillview, Fox Chase, Pioneer Village and Hebron Estates.

Robinson said some of the cities have larger service areas in the 201 plan so it would be difficult to determine how many people might be affected.

Several others in attendance Tuesday were also concerned and Roberts said she had received several calls on the matter.

By examining the latest audit of the sanitation district, Roberts said the court members would have the opportunity to see if the money is actually needed and whether the 3 percent request is the correct amount.

Magistrate John Bradshaw admitted he thought the sanitation district was very small. He agreed that the users should be the ones responsible for paying for improvements.

The matter was to return to the agenda for the Jan. 3 meeting; however, Kennedy requested a delay until the Jan. 17 meeting.He said there is some more information he needs to get to the court members, including a finding on whether the sanitation district can impose a tax at this time.From the Dec. 20 sanitation board meeting, Kennedy said the consensus is still to encourage the user fees and not impose any new tax.