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City council leaves city tax rates the same, generating a 4% tax revenue increase

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020 — Property owners in the City of Bardstown will pay the same city property tax rate that they paid last year.

After a discussion of their options, led by the city’s Chief Financial Officer Aaron Boles, the council opted to leave the tax rate for real estate and personal property the same at 17.9 cents per $100 of value.

The council members wanted to make it clear to constituents that the city council doesn’t have a role in property tax assessments — those are conducted by the Property Valuation Administrator’s office of Nelson County PVA Barbara Tichenor — or setting the city school tax or county school tax rates.

City property owners whose property wasn’t reassessed this year will not see an increase on their city property taxes for 2020, Mayor Dick Heaton explained. Individuals whose property was reassessed will see an increase based on the reassessment, he said.

Due to the $65.8 million increase in real estate assessments in the city this year, leaving the tax rate the same will net the city a 4 percent increase in tax revenue, or about $124,000 in new tax revenue, Boles said. The increase will help cover the extra expenses involved with road repairs, police and fire protection, the mayor explained.

The council voted unanimously to leave the tax rate the same. Due to the revenue increase doing so will create, a public hearing has been scheduled for just before the next city council meeting, 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in the council chambers next to the Bardstown Rec. Center gym on Xavier Drive.

Mayor Heaton said he’s talked with other mayors, and said he felt conducting a public hearing that’s needed for the tax rate would be cumbersome if conducted via teleconference.

The council meeting will follow the public hearing and begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020.

REZONING APPROVED. Following a detailed discussion about the encroachment of commercial zoning into residential areas, the Bardstown City Council approved the rezoning of a home at 110 East O’Bryan Avenue from its current zoning (R-1C, Single Family Residential) to P-1 (Professional Office District).

The council discussion focused on if the zoning change might set an undesireable precedent that would allow other residential properties in the Henrytown neighborhood to be zoning for commercial or professional uses.

Councilwoman Betty Hart pointed out that the home was not in a favorable location to continue to serve as a single-family home.

The home is directly behind the building on the corner of North Third and O’Bryan that used to house a pawn shop. The property owners own the former pawn shop property and the adjacent property next to the home, both of which are zoned for commercial use.

Councilman Joe Buckman pointed out that the other commercial buildings facing Third Street on that block extend all the way to the alley; the property in question is west of the alley. While he was concerned that the use didn’t go along with the comprehensive plan, he agreed that the property’s use as a single-family home was limited, and that a professional use would be more in keeping with the nature of the neighborhood.

In the end, the council voted unanimously to approve the planning and zoning’s action approving the zoning change to P-1 Professional Office District.

EMERGENCY SERVICES UPDATE. Bardstown Fire Chief Billy Mattingly told the council that they have responded to a large number of overdoses in recent weeks. The fire department is now in the new Fire Station 1 just off KY245 on Arch Pendergrass Way, and manning it 24/7, Mattingly explained.

Mattingly said he hopes to start back with fire dog Oreo and making appearances at schools and events in October.

Bardstown Police Chief Kim Kraeszig told the council that her department just hired its 31st officer and is now fully staffed. Due to the pandemic, the new officers have been unable to come before the council and be sworn-in, she explained. Of the four most recent hires, two were from Nelson County, one was from Mount Washington, and the fourth from Spencer County.

Tom Blair, the city’s School Resource Officer is back in school now that the Bardstown City Schools have resumed in-person classes.

In other business, the council:

— approved a water service request for two properties on Old Nelsonville Road. The individuals have agreed to pay to extend the city’s existing 4-inch water main some 2,450 feet to serve the properties at 630 and 710 Old Nelsonville Road.

— approved first reading of changes to the campus section of the city’s sign ordinance. Councilman David Dones had raised questions about the specific wording of the changes to the ordinance at the council’s last meeting. The ordinance was reworded and brought back to the council Tuesday night for first reading.

— approved a resolution naming September as City Government Month.

NEXT UP. The Bardstown City Council’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, and will take place in-person in the council chambers next to the Rec. Center gym on Xavier Drive. A public hearing regarding the city’s tax rates will begin immediately before the council meeting at 5:45 p.m.

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