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Overall, this year’s McCreary County tax rates remain the same as or lower than the 2022 rates. Meeting in regular session on Thursday (September 14, 2023), McCreary County Fiscal Court set the 2023 tax rates (to be applied to assessments as of January 1, 2023) at 8.50 cents per $100 of Real Property and 20.40 cents per $100 for Motor/Watercraft. The newly approved county rates are the same as county rates in 2022.
Also during the meeting, Fiscal Court acknowledged their receipt of the 2023 tax rates set by McCreary County’s special taxing districts. Special district tax rates are set by multiple taxing entities within the county: school, library, fire, health, extension service, and soil conservation. Fiscal Court has no authority over the rates set by the special taxing districts; instead, the Court is required to acknowledge that special district tax rates have been set and received during a Fiscal Court meeting. The 2023 special district tax rates presented to Fiscal Court during the meeting are: Library: Real-6.7 cents per $100 (decrease in rate from 2022) and Personal-8.17 cents per $100 (increase in rate from 2022)/ Health Department: 4.0 cents per $100 (same rate as 2022) / Soil Conservation: 1.70 cents per $100 for both Real and Personal (same rate as 2022) / McCreary County Extension Service: Real-3.3 cents per $100 (decrease in rate from 2022) and Personal 3.57 cents per $100 (increase in rate from 2022) / Board of Education (school): Real-36 cents per $100 (decrease in rate from 2022) and Personal 37.5 cents per $100 (same rate as 2022) Each of the five volunteer fire departments (Eagle, West McCreary, North McCreary, Whitley City, and South McCreary) set the same tax rate as last year at 10 cents per $100 for their individual service areas.)
With 2023 tax rates now set, the process of mailing out tax notices for payment has begun. Property owners can expect to receive tax bills beginning October 1, 2023.
In other business, Fiscal Court approved the first reading of Ordinance Number 310.1, regarding open burning bans. According to Emergency Management Director Stephen McKinney, the ordinance strengthens enforcement of annual and emergency burn bans by allowing the issuance of fines. According to McKinney, the ordinance will only impact a few individuals who are repeat offenders and who continue to ignore burning bans after being warned.
“This will only affect people who cause harm,” McKinney said. “There will be notices in the newspaper, radio, and on social media. We always issue a warning first, so this will only impact a few who cause harm. We are not in the business of fining people, but we must protect citizens. We always try to educate before fining.”
Additional business included the following:
-Presented former 2nd District Magistrate Roger Phillips with a plaque in recognition of his 20 plus years of service.
-Recognized McCreary County’s 4H state and county fair winners.
-Approved personnel matters (hires/transfers, etc.)
-Approved road changes: shortened Edgewood Road and added Forest Lane to county road inventory in District 4, lengthened Haynes Lane in District 3, approved road name change from Lorenzo Jones Road to Lee Cattle Co. Drive in District 2. Also, at the request of Magistrate Bill Hale (District 1), agreed to change name of Dave Taylor Road off of HWY 90 to Honeybee Lane.
-Approved changes to Administrative Code. The approved changes better define job descriptions and roles in EMS with no pay changes involved.
-Heard Deputy Judge Nathan Nevel’s point of interest: Litter Abatement cardboard recycling bins will be advertised for bid.
-Accepted 2022 tax fees through December 31, 2022 from outgoing Sheriff Randy Waters.
-Approved a payment from Abandoned Mine Land Fund (grant.)
-Heard Department Head reports, including:
-EMS had 421 runs, including 52 non-emergency runs, in August. Director Jimmy Barnett noted ambulance services statewide are facing employee shortages. 911 answered 1,232 calls in August.
-McCreary County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dustin Ridner reported the MCSO dealt with 637 calls in August. Deputy Ricky Flannery is currently attending the Police Academy with Deputy Daniel Taylor beginning his Academy training in December.
-Park Director Melissa Vanover noted the CAP Hunger Walk will be held at the park on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 10:00. There will be a knife and gun trade show at the park on Friday, September 29. Rental fees collected in August: Sand Hill-$1,775 ($1,175 came from campsites) and McCreary County Park-$890 for total rental fees collected: $2,665.
-ABC Director Brenda Blevins reported on July alcohol sales. The county took in $10, 330.78 in regulatory fees plus $1,000 in license fees on alcohol sales. Merchants garnered $225,039.12. Blevins further reported about a store that was fined for selling to an underage girl. In addition to consequences for the store, the employee who sold alcohol to the underage girl was fined $500, put on two years of probation, and must recertify in alcohol training. Bottom line: Store owners AND employees: Check those IDs!
-Road and Litter Abatement Supervisor Tony Kidd reported on a busy month including disposal of 1,244 tires, mowing with six tractors, twenty-one calls pertaining to trees and tree limbs, repair of twenty-two potholes, slope work completed at the county airport, twenty-three signs erected, six bus turn arounds completed, and more.
-Emergency Management Director Stephen McKinney discussed two grant applications.
-County Attorney Austin Price noted recent complaints of private timber theft. Price said timber theft will be prosecuted and can result in criminal charges along with guilty parties paying 3x the value of the stolen timber plus damages.
-$76,237.34 in occupation tax was collected in August.
-$1,482 in transient tax was collected in August by Tourism Commission. McCrearyFest will be October 4, 2023 from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. with a petting zoo, vendors, and parade at noon. Chili cook-off, street music/dancing, and library event will be October 3 on Friday evening/night.
-Judge Greene noted the forthcoming Hunger Walk scheduled for Thursday, September 21. He also mentioned many positive aspects of McCreary County-including topnotch service through EMS, good roads, and outstanding internet service. McCreary County is ranked number 1 for internet service throughout the Lake Cumberland multi-county area.
The McCreary County Fiscal Court meets regularly on the second Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the McCreary County Courthouse.