Joe P. Asher
Property owners in Evarts will not be paying a higher rate for property tax next year.
The council discussed the different options available for the new tax rate during its recent meeting.
Evarts City Clerk Kristi Lamb informed the council of available options.
“You’ve got two options without taking that big 4 percent increase,” Lamb said. “We can leave it like it is, which is .407 percent, which will put us collecting — if we collect everything we’re allowed — $60,141. We can drop it down to .397 percent, which will put us collecting $58,664.”
According to Lamb, there is a 6 percent late penalty in the current ordinance.
“As of right now, the way that ordinance reads, they’re getting a 12 percent penalty as of Feb. 1, plus 6 percent interest as of Feb. 1,” said Lamb.
Mayor Eddie Manning said last year was the first time the 6 percent penalty had been enforced even though it had been on the books for years.
“The auditors wanted us to enforce that,” said Manning. “We’d never enforced the late penalty and the auditors really wanted us to do that.”
Lamb clarified the 12 percent penalty had been enforced in the past, but not the 6 percent interest penalty.
The council asked for information on how many people usually paid their tax bill on time.
“I can give you an estimated average,” said Lamb. “Say we collect 90 percent of our tax bills. You’re going to have a good 65 to 75 percent that pay before that penalty goes on.”
The council discussed the option of eliminating the 6 percent interest penalty.
“We can do away with it,” said Manning. “But what you have to think of is that it doesn’t make any difference if somebody pays on Feb. 2 or Dec. 31 — it’s the same price.”
It was suggested that the 6 percent penalty would be incentive for people to pay their tax in a more timely manner. After discussing different options, including lowering the rate or having it take effect later in the year, a motion was made to discard the 6 percent penalty. The motion was passed with no opposition.
Council members then approved a motion keeping the property tax rate at .407 percent for the upcoming year.
In other action:
* Manning informed the council the state may take over liability for a .9 mile section of road leading from Evarts to the ATV park, clearing the way for Evarts to begin the process to become a Kentucky Trail Town destination. The city of Evarts would be responsible for policing the road;
* Manning reported to the council the Harlan Fiscal Court has confirmed that Evarts will receive $25,000 for the fiscal year 2013 and another $25,000 for fiscal year 2014 in coal severance money.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com