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Morgantown City Council lowers property & tangible taxes

The Morgantown City Council met on Thursday, August 5, at City Hall. Sharon Johnson, Dionne Merritt, Russell Givens, Bryan Locke, and Jason Gaskey were in attendance.

City tax rates will either go down or remain the same for the upcoming year.  The council approved the first reading concerning property tax rates for this year. The rate last year was 10.9% and dropped to 10.4% per $100 in value. The tangible tax rate was 13.81% last year and also dropped to 10.96%. Motor craft stayed at 27.9 %.

Mayor Billy Phelps pointed out that this means that our property values have gone up, and businesses/industries are doing better.

Danny Cardwell reported for Planning and Zoning. They have reviewed several requests and ordinances. In addition, they are looking into driveway concerns.

Bobby McKee, Code Enforcement Officer, reported that he has opened four new cases, worked on old cases and closed two new and two old cases. He has also filed three liens on properties that have overdue fines and two more that are at risk of having a lien filed against them. In addition, he investigated a buzzard report on Bell Street.

Pam Staples from the Housing Authority board reported that they have installed new AC units in some of their units and are looking to remodel their studio apartments. Their Capital Fund repairs on flooring and shower units will be next. They also stated that all applications are being taken online with limited in-person appointment times.

Harlan Dockery, of the Utilities Commission, reported that they had given a refurbishment to the sewer plant, pumps, and gear boxes.  They are looking to build an addition and will need an approximate 30' by 50' to store some equipment.

Brad Johnson, of Public Works, stated that the work on the park renovation is running smoothly. Demolition and grading are on track, however, they are concerned about replacing the sewer lines. Although parts of the sewer line were only four inches in diameter, Johnson suggested it be replaced with an eight-inch pipe. They have asked for some help from the Utilities Department. Mayor Phelps asked the Utilities Commission for their help since they were all Morgantown departments, and he was assured that they would work together.

Police Chief, Giles Taylor gave a rundown of his staffing situation. The city police department has been running a crew with only one officer working a shift. Taylor has four new hires that will attend the police academy in January. He has also hired Rodney McMillian, who is already certified and is patrolling now. The goal is to have two officers per shift, and if all goes well after January, that will be possible. New vehicles have been ordered

Chief Taylor's report included the following:  

--22 arrests

--14 traffic accidents

--51 traffic stops

--32 citations

--Five criminal cases open

--Total Calls for service 492

Ronald Givens, with the Morgantown Fire Department, reported five runs total for July, all being in the county, including one helicopter crash.

Mayor Phelps said that the MOGO Bus runs six days a week and averages 30-50 rides per day.

City Administrator Jerrod Barks said that the MOGO kayaks would go out on their first voyage on August 21, and after that date, they will be for rent to the public.

The council approved the resolution to apply for the CDBG Grant to build a new fire department in new business. The amount of the grant totals $750,000.

The council then went into a closed session according to KRS 61.810(b) to deliberate on the future acquisition of real property. The council gave the mayor authority to act on their behalf regarding real estate transactions.




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