Stanford approves amended property tax rates

Published 11:34 am Thursday, September 27, 2018

Errors found in previous ordinance

STANFORD — City Council members thought they approved a 4-percent revenue increase in property tax rates in late August, but errors discovered in the paperwork forced them to meet again last week to approve an amended ordinance.

The errors were an honest mistake, Stanford Mayor Eddie Carter told council members last Thursday during a special-called meeting.

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“It wasn’t your all’s mistake,” Carter said.

Several errors were found in the city’s Aug. 9 public hearing advertisement in The Interior Journal, which stated the City Council had proposed a tax rate of “.135 (13.4 cents) per $100 of assessed property with anticipated revenue of $228,697.86.”

The notice incorrectly stated that the proposed rate reflected a 4-percent increase in anticipated revenue.

Errors were also found in the previously approved ordinance which set the 2018-19 real property tax rate at .130 or 13 cents per $100 of assessed value and the personal property rate at .092 or 9.2 cents per $100 of assessed value.

City Clerk Jone Anderson assured council members that the city had enough time to correct and pass the amended rates before tax bills are sent out to the public.

“We set the rate by (Oct.) 4, they’ll mail by (Oct.) 15. So, they’ll be there in plenty of time. They have to be there by Nov. 1,” Anderson said.

Council members thought they had approved a 4-percent revenue increase but, according to the ordinance that was published, Anderson said the city instead adopted the compensating rate.

“The ordinance that we actually published said that we accepted the compensating rate at .130,” Anderson said.

The intent was to take the 4-percent increase, council members said. While the original ordinance states that the City of Stanford “desires to levy a tax which will reflect a 4% increase in the anticipated revenues…” the rates included in the ordinance did not reflect the 4-percent revenue increase.

Carter said he and Anderson doubled-checked the new figures with the Kentucky League of Cities, as well as with the Lincoln County Property Valuation Administrator, before presenting them to the council last Thursday.

“It was an honest mistake by Chris (Reed, City Attorney), I don’t want to throw him under the bus here but, David Gambrel had the figures right and he (Chris) plugged them in wrong,” he said. “…Of course, the buck stops here.”

The mistake equates to about a $5 difference on tax bills for properties valued at $100,000.

The four council members in attendance voted unanimously to approve the amended ordinance, which raises the real property tax rate to .136, or 13.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value and the personal property rate to .0963, or 9.63 cents per $100 of assessed value.

The new rate means someone who owns a property valued at $100,000 will pay $136 this year.

The real property tax is expected to bring in about $229,888 in revenue, which is about $8,452 more than the previous year, and the personal property tax is expected to bring in $24,970, about $900 more than the previous year.

The tax rate for motor vehicles and watercraft remains at .14, or 14 cents per $100 of assessed property, and is expected to generate $25,237.10, and $670.08, respectively.
Council member Ronnie Deatherage said it seems like the City Council receives quite a bit of misinformation.

“I would like for it to be accurate information before we act on stuff because we have to come back and do it again and makes it look like we don’t know what we’re doing,” he said. “I just want accurate information, that’s all I want.”

Carter said it’s a mistake that shouldn’t have happened.

A second public hearing on the amended rates will be held Oct. 4, prior to the regular City Council meeting, he said.

In other business, the council:
• Accepted a bid of $4,925 from Tony Morgan, of K&T Concrete, to complete the Miller Street sidewalk contract.
Carter said, barring inclement weather, Morgan anticipated the sidewalk project can be completed in about 35 days total.