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Wilson is preparing petition to get issue on the ballot

BOE members voted 5-0 to impose the 'nickel tax' at special meeting Wednesday night. Lazer Photo by Gina Woods BOE members voted 5-0 to impose the 'nickel tax' at special meeting Wednesday night. Lazer Photo by Gina Woods

The Lawrence Co. Board of Education met Wednesday for a special tax hearing for the public and voted unanimously to impose a five cents per $100 dollar 'nickel tax on the property owners of Lawrence County.

Several residents were present to oppose the tax and speak against its passage but their pleas were for naught because the BOE is under no obligation to listen to the Concerned citizen and taxpayer Danny Ramey showed a well worn textbook that his child was using telling the BOE 'enough is enough'. Lazer photo by Gina WoodsConcerned citizen and taxpayer Danny Ramey showed a well worn textbook that his child was using telling the BOE 'enough is enough'. Lazer photo by Gina Woodspeople at the meeting, they just have to have a public meeting before they can get the tax on the books. And they didn't.

"Everyone here wants the best for our children," Board Chairman Heath Preston told the crowd of 25-30 citizens.  "I appreciate all the input because most of the time we are here in these meetings with no one else present."

Preston said the BOE is looking out for the children.

"We are just concerned about the 400 children going to school in a building that needs a lot of work," Preston said in defending the tax hike. 

But concerned citizen and taxpayer Danny Ramey wasn't buying it.

“Enough is enough, no more taxes, you always want more" Ramey said. "We have leaky roofs and my children don’t even have textbooks that have covers. I feel like these requests keep coming and nothing improves."

Ramey showed a book of his son’s that had no back cover and looked like it was in bad condition.

Todd Wilks voiced his concerns about the proposed nickel tax and felt the School Board was wasting $30,000 for this tax levy that is likely to be defeated by the public.Todd Wilks voiced his concerns about the proposed nickel tax and felt the School Board was wasting $30,000 for this tax levy that is likely to be defeated by the public.Another parent, Todd Wilks, voiced his concerns about the proposed nickel tax and felt the School Board was wasting $30,000 for this tax levy that is likely to be defeated by the public.

“I will help lead the opposition on getting a petition together to defeat this unnecessary increase," Wilks said.

Louisa attorney and entrepreneur Gene Wilson once again reminded the Board about his previous recommendation to acquire some of the money from the mineral rights revenues that aren’t currently being collected.

"A large number of those buying and selling these mineral rights are not even residents of The Commonwealth or the county," Wilson said. "Collecting this Gene Wilson told the BOE there are other sources of funding the board hasn't tapped. He said Thursday that he will lead a petition drive to get the issue put on the ballot so the public can decide. Lazer photo by Gina WoodsGene Wilson told the BOE there are other sources of funding the board hasn't tapped. He said Thursday that he will lead a petition drive to get the issue put on the ballot so the public can decide. Lazer photo by Gina Woodsrevenue could possibly offset any future needs for a 'Nickel Tax' to be assessed."

A spokesperson in Wilson's office said Thursday that his staff is busy preparing a petition to be circulated throughout the county to have the 'nickel tax' taken back off. That is the only avenue the people can use to get the issue on the ballot for all to vote on, Wilson said.

Supt. Fletcher has said that almost every surrounding county has passed the 'nickel tax' and that it is "well known" in education circles that a county must pass the nickel tax if it wants funding for new construction. But in neighboring Johnson County the BOE voted in the nickel tax but a group of taxpayers got up a petition and passed it. When the issue was put before the public, they voted it out. Martin County does currently have the nickel tax.

District 1 Lawrence Co. magistrate Morris Howard attended the BOE meeting Wednesday. Howard has steadfastly held the line on any new taxes on the people of Lawrence County.District 1 Lawrence Co. magistrate Morris Howard attended the BOE meeting Wednesday. Howard has steadfastly held the line on any new taxes on the people of Lawrence County.Fletcher has also said a new school that would house elementary students in Louisa will cost in excess of $15 million and the county only has bonding capacity of $7 million at this time. "We will have to have the state match our bond if we are to be able to build a new school," Fletcher said.

Fletcher said he appreciated the number of people attending the meeting and he was courteous when responding to the audience questions.

When specifically asked about the proposed 'Nickel Tax' NOT being approved, Dr. Fletcher stated, “If this isn't done now It will be at least a decade before Lawrence County kids will have a new school building.”

The meeting was then adjourned and a special meeting of the BOE was immediately called into session.

An estimated 25-30 people showed up for the public hearing on the newly imposed 'nickel tax' BOE photo by James Ellis.An estimated 25-30 people showed up for the public hearing on the newly imposed 'nickel tax' BOE photo by James Ellis.

Superintendent’s Personnel Action/Update

March 15, 2017

Hiring:

Substitute Teachers

Siska Pack

Marina Warf

Substitute Bus Drivers

Roger Whalen

Richard Kelly

Resignations:

Paula Lambert - Teacher at Louisa East Elementary School

Karen Peck - Instructional Assistant at Louisa West Elementary School

Sarah Fletcher - Instructional Assistant at Louisa West Elementary School

 

Comments  

+1 #13 Former Resident 2017-03-22 17:00
Heath "The Thief" Preston would be a prominent figure in the proposal for this tax. That sticky fingered [censored] will rob you blind if you don't watch. Or at least keep your money and not honor his part of the deal.
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+6 #12 Understand What 2017-03-21 17:03
I don't understand if this was a special tax meeting then why was so much other business conducted? It's the board president and Mr. Fletcher who don't understand what's best for our children. A new building doesn't make a better education. There are enough funds to repair the school to make it satisfactorily usable - it doesn't have to be state of the art new everything. Then who's going to pay the bonds back? The taxpayer! There'll be more taxes to come later and it doesn't matter if every county around has five nickel taxes, it doesn't mean you have to bleed Lawrence countians dry. If I paid 50.00 more a year that's add up to about $20.00 more a month on a $100,000 value home mortgage for escrow analysis. We're tired of taxes! I will vote against it!
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+4 #11 Lynn 2017-03-21 00:22
Quoting New School:
None of you better complain when the roof caves in on our children, or mold causes health problems, or water leaks are enormous.......remember, it was YOU that caused this to happen. And IT WILL HAPPEN if we don't get a new school. Perhaps you all should stop buying your kids tobacco? If you would do that, then the cost of the nickel tax would not be felt at home. But instead, 100's of underage kids come to school with their smokes or dip that YOU buy them. You don't mind that, do you? Of course not. You have your kid's best interests in mind. Getting them addicted to nicotine!

Please!!! They are sitting on a 7 million dollar bond. Let them use a portion of that to repair the school. It shouldn't take over $500,000.00 to do the repairs if they filter the bids.
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-1 #10 Fact Check 2017-03-20 19:04
Quoting Wasted taxes:
I'm sure that the county could save some money if they stopped spending so much money on vehicles. I notice that the county has a New EMS truck with an expensive graphic kit. You don't need to waste money/taxes on things like this when the county has real problems. I would like to see the fuel cost for the county for the Officials to drive around doing their personal business.


1st new versus NEW. Yes it is new to the county but I believe it is a 2010 or 2011 so not NEW.

2nd Check it out - it was bought using a FEDERAL/STATE grant program.

3rd County government and school system are not the same.

4th It's not EMS (Emergency Medicine) its EM (Emergency Management)

5th The salary for that job is partially paid by the Federal / State grant program as well. I think like 50% of his pay. I know that was the case when the Mayor did the job.
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+3 #9 Sue 2017-03-20 14:21
LCSD is toxic. There's lots of waste that should be trimmed before residents are asked for more taxes..?especia lly for a new building that will houses less than 25% of district students. We need some people who care about ALL kids on the board and running the schools? The ONLY way to change things is a new school board! Mrs. Scaggs is the only one there with a heart for kids?
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-4 #8 New School 2017-03-19 14:19
None of you better complain when the roof caves in on our children, or mold causes health problems, or water leaks are enormous....... remember, it was YOU that caused this to happen. And IT WILL HAPPEN if we don't get a new school. Perhaps you all should stop buying your kids tobacco? If you would do that, then the cost of the nickel tax would not be felt at home. But instead, 100's of underage kids come to school with their smokes or dip that YOU buy them. You don't mind that, do you? Of course not. You have your kid's best interests in mind. Getting them addicted to nicotine!
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+7 #7 Tax 2017-03-19 02:00
Just remember Lawrence County Tax Payers, This is the same board that decided to take the HIGH BID on the grass mowing.
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+11 #6 suzie 2017-03-18 23:07
Bring on the petition Gene, people are tired of trying to survive. Thanks mag. Howard, where are the rest of our elected county officials?..... OH, ONE OF THEM WORKS FOR SCHOOL SYSTEM .
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+4 #5 Wasted taxes 2017-03-18 14:58
I'm sure that the county could save some money if they stopped spending so much money on vehicles. I notice that the county has a New EMS truck with an expensive graphic kit. You don't need to waste money/taxes on things like this when the county has real problems. I would like to see the fuel cost for the county for the Officials to drive around doing their personal business.
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+10 #4 Share Facts 2017-03-18 13:27
That's what you decide to quote? Why not the valuable information shared in the meeting such as the board taking a 4% increase in taxes for many years in a row even though they could have decided to accept a compensating rate (as Mr. Wilks called it) which he says would have meant the school would have still gotten more money due to growth in Lawrence Co and what we had to pay the school wouldn't have increased. I think his point wasn't just the $30,000 for the special vote, it was about the school not managing their money well in the first place all while taking more from us for years. In addition to the poor condition of text books (some students don't even have books in some classes that need them, worksheets get copied) It was mentioned about buses with no air conditioners and accepting highest mowing bid (because they were quoted as being in the best financial shape in a long time) and buying a $60,000 house just because they can.
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+9 #3 Lynn 2017-03-18 02:35
Please post where the petition will be so I can sign it. Another tax is ridiculous!! Let the board take a pay cut then we'll see how much they are thinking about the kids. If they'd quit wasting money they'd be able to build/repair the school. Fifteen million dollar school... OMG!!! There's not enough kids attending that school to justify FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS!!!
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+10 #2 Tax 2017-03-18 01:33
Thanks Gene, get it to a vote. It will never pass. This is just not a good time to impose a new tax with the loss of jobs and the way the economy is.
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-9 #1 Sally 2017-03-18 01:00
Where are these people that attended this meeting at when a regular board meeting or budget meeting time. Yeah sitting at home like I thought. And Wilson is just as crooked as the next person in line for a back scratch. He makes me sick.
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