Commonwealth Journal

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March 13, 2013

Library happy with tax districts bill

Veto power over hikes not given to fiscal courts

Somerset —  

Local library officials are pleased with the way Frankfort has dealt with legislation that would provide more oversight of special taxing districts without putting more power into the hands of county lawmakers.
On Tuesday, members of both the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives reached an agreement on House Bill 1, that would bolster accountability of more than 1,200 taxing districts in the Common-wealth, specially-purposed entities that set and direct tax revenue toward various prog-rams and orga-nizations — such as libraries.
As State Aud-itor Adam Edelen’s report on lack of oversight among special taxing districts in the state brought the issue to the legislature’s attention last year, Pulaski County was mixed up in its own controversy. A petition seeking to disband the board of the Pulaski County Public Library over what was felt by the petitioners to be an unchecked ability to raise tax rates on citizens stoked the ire of library supporters when it was learned that dissolving the district would cause the inadvertent closure of the library itself.
The petition was pulled when the woman seen as spearheading it, Barbara Sanders, learned that Kentucky lawmakers would address special district oversight in 2013. Even so, Edelen had already held up library boards across the state as being an example of districts that did what they were supposed to do.
What House Bill 1 will ultimately do is require special districts to submit their budgets to a publicly-accessible online registry, which is scheduled to be unveiled to the public in October of next year.
The Kentucky Senate had sought to change the bill to put more power in the hands of local county government. A county’s fiscal court, for instance, would have had the ability to veto tax increases voted upon by the board, should they increase the revenue collected the year before.

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