Will officials in county seat now be ready to open eyes?

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My Views

By Thomas Barr

 The pressure is now off the city officials in Shepherdsville.

To satisfy advisers and those who agreed to lend them money, city officials did what they promised to do.

They raised the occupational tax to 1.5 percent, which means that everyone in the city should be paying and every company must be submitting some funds.

Many of the companies which located to the city were offered abatements of up to 1 percent of the tax for a 10-year period. 

Even those companies will now be paying .5 percent.

The city agreed to allow the sheriff’s department to collect its annual property taxes.

And the city increased sewer rates and property tax rates to provide for added income.

Now that all that has been done, it is time to get to work.

The duties facing city officials in light of the heavy financial burdens which became public in January are many.

First, the council must begin looking at every thing city government is doing.

Everything must be placed on the table.

Through the past nine months, the comments from the public have been numerous. Some make sense and some are totally outrageous. And some are so outrageous that they deserve a closer inspection.

A committee has been set up to look at the financial situation and to ponder over some long-range planning.

Before any rash decisions are made -however, seldom are quick decisions every put into action -the council must look at numerous things.

First, is the staffing plan in place for the city proper?

Are the right people in the right places or are more people needed?

City government is big business and requires much expertise.

The budget includes funds for a controller. Is that needed or not? The council must decide.

Second, can the city support all the services currently offered and how can they be funded?

The fire department is a hot topic, no pun intended.

To become a “regular” fire department to meet conditions of a still-pending, it may never be over lawsuit, paid career firefighters were hired.

And then the city was graced with a grant to have six more paid firefighters hired. The only bad part is that when the grant money runs out, the city must continue to pay them.

Could the city contract out fire service or could another taxing district contract with the city to provide such service?

The police department is slowly losing officers, which also results in diminishing services.

Third, is the current government center feasible?

With annual payments of nearly $250,000 for leasing and a like amount for things like utilities and insurance, that is a big price to pay.

But can the city afford to not have the facility?

Fourth, should the city go ahead and annex all the land to the south that is not inhabited by residents for future development?

Not a lot of cost in annexing property.

Finally, does all this thought become wasted concern if the occupational tax increase and the sewer hikes bring in more money that the city can spend?

We doubt that there would ever be too much money. However, there is no good handle on the money that would be generated in October from the occupational money.

The bottom line is that the pressure to meet the immediate concerns has passed.

Take the time now to figure out where you truly are and where you want to go.