Commonwealth Journal

News Live

March 9, 2013

Magistrates concerned about new tax structure

(Continued)

Somerset —

“ … It’s going to be felt everywhere,” said Maxey.
The magistrates expressed concern that the new structure will leave the county reeling, even if the city doesn’t claim its full portion of the occupational tax.
“That tax is our only revenue source,” said First District Magistrate Jason Turpen.
Fifth District Magistrate Mike Strunk agreed.
“We don’t have a gas company or water company or sewer company to make us money,” Strunk said.
The City of Somerset currently receives revenue through its ownership of a pipeline built during the 1970s to eastern Kentucky gas fields, along with a gas pipeline to a Texas Eastern terminal in Casey County that crosses two interstate pipelines.
The city also provides treated water to water providers throughout the county.
“I don’t know how we would afford to keep those services going without that money because that’s sort of our life blood,” said Bullock.
Strunk and Turpen pointed out that even though a majority of the occupational tax revenue is generated within the city, a majority of city employees also live in the county and benefit from the county’s services such as road upkeep.
“You’ve got 11,000 people that live in the city of Somerset who have everything they need and you’ll have (56,000)  people who live in the county who’s going to have to do without,” said Strunk.
The magistrates also wondered aloud whether the city will claim its full portion of the occupational tax eventually.
“There’s nothing then saying the city can’t still come back ... and take it all,” Bullock said.

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