Commonwealth Journal

News Live

February 6, 2013

Burnside nixes annexation plan & houseboat tax

(Continued)

Burnside —

Weddle said a petition was drafted and taken around the neighborhood to see who was for the annexation and who wasn’t; only one resident was found who was in favor.
Jones lobbied his city’s case by suggesting better police and fire protection could lead to lower insurance premiums, but citizens disputed that, claiming that they actually have better numbers now; even Jones noted that some would pay more, some less, and for some, the difference would be “a wash.”
Jones also used the threat of the larger city Somerset to the north absorbing the rest of the county as a selling point, with the idea that Somerset’s potentially taking a substantial chunk of the county’s occupational tax revenue, as had suggested as a possibility earlier this year, could drain some of the resources those citizens are currently receiving. 
Even though Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler said in January that his city wasn’t ready to move in that direction — and the city and county appear to have reached an agreement regarding the EMS funding shortfall Somerset faces that would mitigate that danger, a fact Jones could not have known at the time of the meeting — Jones still made it seem as though he believed that such an event was on the horizon.
“Somerset is in the process of taking the occupational tax from the county, from which the City of Burnside receives, if I’m not mistaken, a little over $80,000 a year,” said Jones. “My understanding is, from our magistrate, that Somerset is not concerned about Burnside or Ferguson, or anybody out in the county. They’re going to withhold the contributions that the county judge has been giving to the ambulance service, to the fire departments. ... You have (county services) right now, but when the City of Somerset takes that, you’re not going to have anything.”

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