Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 9, 2013

Magistrates concerned about new tax structure


Somerset —

“We’re sitting up here today struggling to make ends meet for everybody in the county,” said Fourth District Magistrate Glenn Maxey. “ ... It’s going to be really hard for us to make ends meet.”
Twenty percent of the county’s general fund comes from the occupational tax, which was established in 1987 as a way to bring additional revenue to a chronically underfunded county government. Isaacs has said the county collected around $9 million during the last fiscal year, which ended in June.
As of right now, the county funds a number of entities through the occupational tax. Lake Cumberland Regional Airport, Somerset-Pulaski
County EMS, the Pulaski County Detention Center and Pulaski County 911 all receive funding from the gross revenue of the county’s occupational tax, or “off the top.”
The airport receives around 2 percent, EMS gets 13 percent, the detention center gets about 5.5 percent, and 911 receives 13 percent.
After a percentage of gross profits are handed out, other entities are given a percentage of the net profits of the tax.
Twenty percent of that revenue goes into the county’s general fund, 20 percent goes to the Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation, 30 percent goes into the county road fund, and the remaining 30 percent is divided among the five incorporated cities — Somerset, Science Hill, Eubank, Burnside and Ferguson — per capita.
“We take that occupational tax in and we divvy it out where it’s needed the most,” said Maxey.
The city recently heard a first reading of an ordinance that would allow them to collect their own tax against the county. That wouldn’t mean new taxes for anyone. It would mean that the city would claim a larger portion of the occupational tax than it had received in the past.
The city is expected to hear the second reading of the ordinance this week.

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