Commonwealth Journal

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February 8, 2013

County, city agree to 60-40 split of tax money

Somerset —  

A 60-40 split.
That is perhaps the key detail of the agreement reached by the City of Somerset and Pulaski County governments on how to restructure the occupational tax distribution and help the city pay for EMS services.
Based on quarterly reports, occupational tax revenues will be adjusted so that the county receives about 60 percent of the revenue and the city 40 percent.
“With the agreement that we’ve reached, in the end, the majority still remains with the county,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler. “They will do certain services, and we will do certain services. We think it’s very fair, very reasonable, and hopefully will give us a little bit additional dollars for the EMS system.”
Somerset City Hall released specific terms of the agreement after Girdler allowed the city council a chance to review them. Both the council and Pulaski County Fiscal Court will have to approve the agreement before it’s finalized, but officials from both sides have expressed optimism about getting a deal done and settling a potentially contentious issue.
Last month, Girdler began talking about the possibility of implementing the city’s own occupational tax in order to resolve funding issues for entities such as Somerset-Pulaski EMS, the ambulance service that responds to health needs throughout the county. 
A 1995 agreement drawn up between the county and city currently outlines how the county and city fund Pulaski County 911 and EMS. As per the agreement, the county took over operations and funding for 911, while the city was identified as the “overseer” of EMS. 
County officials, however, worried that the city’s plans for the occupational tax could “cripple” their own ability to fund public services, since the tax revenue garnered from employers at a rate of 1 percent makes up about 20 percent of the county’s total budget. 

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