Court Hears Concerns Over Business Taxes, Enforcement
Butler County Fiscal Court held its final regular session for 2011 on Monday night at the courthouse. All members were present.
Melissa Embry from Radio Shack/TLC Sales asked to be added to the agenda for the meeting to speak to the magistrates concerning taxes and taxation. Mrs. Embry told the court “vast” amounts of money are leaving the county in the way of unpaid taxes and fees. According to Embry business owners in the county that have storefronts are at a disadvantage because ordinance number 07-1001 is not properly enforced. That ordinance requires that all entities that do business in the county have a license and pay proper taxes and fees. Embry feels that the law isn’t being enforced and that taxes wouldn’t need to be raised on citizens as a whole if taxes and fees were collected fairly. According to Embry money is leaving the county, “. . .hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time.”
Judge David Fields agreed with Embry that some monies were leaving the county, but said that enforcement would be the problem. Embry contends that with the money properly collected it would be possible to hire a police officer or other official that would just be tasked with those specific collections. Fields said that this might be an issue that would require the appointment of a committee to investigate. County Attorney Dick Deye echoed Fields’ assertion that enforcement is what needs to be addressed and not the specific codes which are on the books.
Fields said that he will talk with some other county officials from counties of similar size to Butler County to see how they handle the issue, and suggested that Embry and Deye might do the same. No action was taken on the matter, but Fields did leave the option open of having a special session to address the issue before the end of the year.
In other business the court made its final two $100 Mile Litter Pick Up payments of the year. $682.00 was paid to the Butler County Softball Boosters and $600.00 went to the BCHS Future Farmers of America. 2nd District Magistrate Johnny Tuck reported that easements are being acquired for Fleener Road in his district. That will be the final step necessary before the road is added to the county maintenance list.
Magistrates also gave approval for the Barren River Area Development District to administer Homeland Security grants for Phase II Communications upgrades in the county. The second reading and adoption of the 3% Transient Room Tax ordinance was held. The ordinance will become law once it is published. James Runion and Todd Cohron were appointed to the Extension Service Board of Directors. Magistrates also gave their annual allotments to each of the county’s five fire departments, $10,000 each, and the annual $2,500 allotment to the Woodbury Museum.
The squires approved the county’s half of the $50,000 down payment on land recently purchased in conjunction with the Industrial Holdings Corp. Judge Fields told the court that the county’s half of the payment isn’t yet due, but they wanted to be ready once all the paperwork is signed. Magistrates also accepted budgets from County Clerk Shirley Givens and Sheriff Scottie Ward. Both budgets are up slightly from last year. The total clerk’s budget is $2.7-million while the Sheriff’s budget is $509,000.
The next meeting of the Fiscal Court will be January 9th, 2012. Judge Fields has left the option open of having a special session before the end of the calendar year.
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Story by Joe K. Morris, Beech Tree News.