All members were present for the September Fiscal Court meeting this past Tuesday morning in the main courtroom of the LAWRENCE County Courthouse.
County Judge/Executive Phil Carter opened the meeting with prayer and pledge of allegiance and then council members voted on finance and “housekeeping” items.
The main topic of discussion was the tax rate charged by the Lawrence County Library board.
Lawrence co. Judge/Executive and some members of the fiscal court have become vocal opponents of the tax rate charged by the local library board.”Some taxpayers are upset due to the almost $3.5 million dollars that was spent on the Public Library building addition” –Phil Carter
The new Lawrence Co. Public Library’s open house is set for October 1, 2020. A drive thru carnival, raffles, and COVID safe walkthroughs will be part of the day’s activities.
However, during Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting, County Judge Executive Phillip Carter said that many taxpayers are upset with the almost $3.5 million dollars spent for the new building. Due at least partly to COVID, the county is financially hurting and the amount spent for the building is way too high, Carter said.
“So many road and other repairs are needed throughout the county but there is no money available for these repairs, and I believe way to much money was spent on this building,” Carter said while the magistrates were discussing next year’s library budget which was an agenda item.
Carlie Pelfry, the LC Library director, was in attendance and spoke to court members in regards to the opening of the Library’s new addition which has recently been completed. There will be a special “circus” at the library to celebrate the completion of the new section which will contain offices and special rooms for other events.
She said she had ‘no comment’ when asked about the Library funds by court members. including the library’s tax rate which has been controversial in recent months at 14.7, just slightly lower than the entire county government’s share. Ms. Pelfry also declined comment for the Lazer instead referring us to a letter she wrote to a print newspaper.
Most of the increases in the library tax rate came under the direction of former librarian Mary McGuire and her “board of directors” amassing at least $6 million in the library’s bank account before the latest wing was added.
In past years taxing districts in Kentucky counties were required to present a copy of their budgets each year but the court had no power to reject the budgets, they could only agree they had been presented to them. But in the last legislative session the Kentucky General Assembly changed the law and beginning this fiscal year, the court must approve the taxing district budgets before they can be enacted.
In Lawrence County, the County Library taxing district took advantage of the law through the years and began raising their percentage of the tax monies at times by the maximum 4% in a year.
There will be a Special Fiscal Court meeting on Monday, October 21, 2020 at 9 am in the big courtroom of the old courthouse to further discuss this matter as well as the library’s tax rate which is the third highest of all taxing districts.
In other court matters, this year’s voting procedures were discussed.
County Clerk Chris Jobe informed court members that Lawrence County has four approved voting centers and are waiting on the approval of four more locations.
Locations for approved voting centers are LCHS, Fallsburg Elementary, Blaine Elementary and Emmanuel Baptist Church in the Meades Branch area. The locations pending approval are Clifford, Webbville and the LC Senior Citizens center here in Louisa.
Jobe also said that early voting will begin on October 13, in the old courthouse. Citizens will be able to vote on the machines in the clerk’s office from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, during regular business hours. Voters will also be able to vote on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. Those voting dates in the courthouse are October 17, 24 and October 31.
All items were unanimously approved and accepted by Fiscal Court members.