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Magistrates debate property tax rate; compensating rate rejected, public hearing set

Court approves port-a-potty for Rochester Ferry 


Butler County Fiscal Court met in regular session on Monday, July 11, at the courthouse. All magistrates were in attendance.

The three main topics of discussion were the tax rates, celebration funds, and a port-a-potty for the Rochester Ferry.

Fifth District Magistrate Dillon Bryant motioned to accept the compensating rate of 7.50 percent for 2022-23. This rate would generate the same revenue as this year’s rate of 7.9 percent since property values have increased. Third District Magistrate Timmy Givens seconded the motion.

"I am not going to vote for a tax increase after you sat here at the last meeting and gave magistrates a 7 percent raise," said Bryant. (Dillon Bryant and Timmy Givens voted against the raise.)

Judge/Executive Tim Flener disagreed, stating that taking a 4 percent increase (7.8) is still lower than this year's 7.9 percent.

The amount in question is $14,959.  If the court takes the compensating rate of 7.5, the revenue is $373,977.  If magistrates take the rate of 7.8 percent, the revenue is $388,936. The increase in revenue would come from the taxpayers because of increased property values. Bryant and Timmy Givens voted yes, while Stevie Givens, Kevin Phelps, and David Whittinghill voted no. The motion failed.

Phelps motioned to set a public hearing for August 4 at 5:30 p.m. to hear from the public. Stevie Givens seconded the motion, which passed by a 4-1 vote with Bryant voting no.

Discussion then turned to “celebration” funds that earmark money for each magistrate to spend in their district.  Bryant asked the court if he could give his celebration money of $1,500 to the Fifth District Volunteer Fire Department. The court has line items totaling $14,000 in its budget for celebrations for each district.  It also includes a fund for the courthouse ( $1,500), and the Catfish Festival ($5,000).

Fourth District Magistrate David Whittinghill uses his celebration money for the North Park Butler Cookout, which is scheduled for September 17. Kevin Phelps said he would like to use his money to celebrate the opening of the Woodbury RV Park. The court approved Bryant's donation to the fire department.

Third District Magistrate Timmy Givens asked about a port-a-potty for the Rochester Ferry. According to Givens, the ferry is so busy it often is difficult for the ferry operator to make it up the hill to the ferry house. Therefore, Givens asked that the port-a-potty be mounted on the side of the ferry. The court approved his request by a 4-1 vote, with David Whittinghill voting no.

Magistrates approved a five-year bid from Jeremy Womack for computer services for $2,500.

Fourth District Magistrate David Whittinghill motioned to accept the road list for flex funding for 2023 except for Hidden Valley Road. Bryant seconded the motion. First District Magistrate Stevie Givens asked why they wanted to exclude Hidden Valley Road. Whittinghill said the road costs too much. The motion was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Stevie Givens voting no.

The court approved the following by a 5-0 vote:

- Bills and transfers

- FY23 budget amendment #1 $169,636.68

- Transfer of $35,000 from General Fund to Jail Fund

- Advertise audit in lieu of the full statement

- Annual Financial Statement subject to audit

- Quarterly Financial Statement

- Monthly Treasurer's Settlement

- First District Fire Protection Financial Statement 2nd quarter

- $40,000 to Butler County Conservation District

- Removal of a section of Ben Brown Rd. from county maintenance


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