September 30, 2018,
LOUISA, KY. — Lawrence county’s governing body decided, as expected, to leave the tax rate the same as it was last year despite a $50 million drop in oil and gas valuations which will cause an unknown drop in county funds.
The Fiscal Court on motion of Rick Blackburn and second by John J. Lemaster voted unanimously to reject a “cost of living increase” called the compensating rate and declined to raise taxes.
Clerk Chris Jobe confirmed the county has “about $300,000 in unpaid tax bills this year” and that the Oil&Gas valuation has dropped by $50 million.
PVA Chris Rose said he “did not know” how much the difference will be with the drop in the Oil&Gas revenue. Rose did not say whether he can retrieve the difference. He did say the county had a $4 million increase in property value which means growth.
Court members approved the 2019-20 budget at an earlier meeting this year which must be balanced by Ky. law.
Since there is little coal severance tax monies coming in of late, extras are out of the question and the taxpayers also face county office holders’ and employees’ retirement backpay and other benefits that has not been paid in recent years. That amounts to around $500,000 but does not have to be paid in one year.
But, there was little doubt among courthouse insiders Friday morning that there would be no tax raise, “You think they’re going to raise taxes right before the election, you’re crazy.” one of them laughed.