Wiese said if the city were to enact the taxes at the first of the year, city residents would have to pay both the 1-percent county payroll tax and the 6/10 of a percent city taxes for the first half of the year. However, according to Wiese, state law will change July 1 and county government will be required to credit city taxpayers with the 6/10 of a percent city taxes. That leaves the county with 4/10 of a percent of what is now the 1-percent occupational and net profit levies collected within the city.
“That’s why the city is delaying the start of collections; so city residents won’t have to pay extra taxes [from January until July],” said Wiese.
“[The city occupational and net profit taxes] will devastate the county. It is really going to hurt,” said Laura Adams, the county’s tax administrator. Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock is out of his office until Monday and county treasurer Joan Isaacs was unavailable for comment when this story was written. Bullock, commenting earlier to the Commonwealth Journal about a possible city payroll tax, said “ ... we (county) may as well go home.”
Somerset’s financial bonanza apparently will extend pain not only to county government but to the four other municipal governments in the county. Not everything is set in stone at this point, but Adams says a reduction in the total amount of occupational and net profit tax monies received by the county likely would diminish the 30 percent of city development funds now in the tax formula.
These city development funds are allotted after 15 percent comes off the top for the ambulance service, 13 percent to operate 9-1-1 Communications Center, 5.5 percent for Pulaski County Detention Center and 1.5 percent for Lake Cumberland Regional Airport.
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler estimates the city’s occupational and net profit taxes will yield about $5 million annually. Adams suggests the city’s part will be more than $5 million.
Under the current city development formula, Somerset during the 2012-13 fiscal year, got $1,683,955.08 in occupational and net profit tax money. Burnside got $98,555.65; Ferguson received $136,308.29; Science Hill’s allotment was $98,091.38; and Eubank’s share was $50,129.32. The cities’ allotments are based on population.
Following is the current formula for distributing occupational and net profit tax revenues, set by Pulaski Fiscal Court Ordinance No. 220.31:
General Fund, 26 percent; Industrial Fund, 19 percent; City Development, 30 percent; and Road Development, 25 percent.