Tax rate increase discussed by ambulance taxing district board

Sydney Knicely, chairman of the Barren County Ambulance Taxing District’s board of directors, is shown during a Zoom video conference meeting of the board on Wednesday. In the background is Martin Peterson, board member.

GLASGOW – The possibility of a tax increase was one item discussed Wednesday by the Barren County Ambulance Service Taxing District’s board of directors.

And discussion was all that happened. No action was taken to recommend the adoption of a new tax rate.

Typically, the board receives a report from the Kentucky Department for Local Government in the middle of July regarding the calculation of the tax rate. The tax rate is usually adopted by Sept. 1.

In 2019, the board decided to wait until it had received the calculation from KDLG before setting the tax rate.

“This is something we’re going to need to do because we always seem to be running right against our Sept. 1 deadline for that,” said Sydney Knicely, board chair. “That will be something we will need to set at our next meeting.”

The board voted in 2019 to not only increase the tax rate but to also broaden the tax base.

The current tax rate is 2.4 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Denise Billingsley, the newest board member, asked for a three-year look back on deficit payments from Barren and Metcalfe counties so the board can determine if there is an upward or downward trend.

“I would like to look back at history and see how we have trended and also look at what our tax revenues have been and how much did the additional tax base we extended to last year, what did that add before I would want to entertain a recommendation to do any kind of tax increase at this point in time given the nature of our overall economy and what our community is dealing with and facing,” Billingsley said.

She pointed out that Joe Middleton, acting executive director, had pointed out that the Barren-Metcalfe Emergency Medical Service had experienced a decrease in run volume and that it had received some funding from the government since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Middleton had shared with the board earlier in the meeting that the ambulance service had received a little more than $500,000 and has placed part of it in a CD and the rest in an interest bearing money market account, but said it is possible the ambulance service will have to pay back some of the money.

The ambulance service has to provide documentation on how the money is being used.

“If our documentation passes the test, we should be able to hang on to some of that money and then use it to offset deficits in the future, but at this point that money is just kind of in a holding pattern until we figure out (if) we are going to keep it,” Middleton said.

The possibility of increasing or not increasing the tax rate is something to really consider, Knicely said.

“There’s some complicated situations that are out there. We also have situations that are coming up that we’ve never experienced before and you don’t know how to handle and you don’t know what costs there are going to be,” she said. “There’s lots of things that are to be considered and that’s something I wanted us to just get to thinking about because we have such a timeframe on what we do as far as an increase.”

The board also approved its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

“On the revenue side, there will be a carryover from the 2019-2020 fiscal year of $450,000. There will be anticipated collection during this upcoming year of $635,000. Now again, that is kind of dependent of what tax rate we adopt. That’s where we are. We add those two together to show the total available revenues of $1,085,000,” Peterson said.

“Expenditures, we have a line item of a deficit payment to the ambulance service of $628,000, audit service $2,500, bonding fee of $1,200 for a total of $631,000, and then the anticipated carryover to next year is going to be the $1,085,000 minus $631,000, I believe.”

He pointed out that the board has $514,599 in the bank.

“We’ve got one more payment to make and so I’m estimating that it’s not going to be more than $64,000 or something in that range,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s less. It looks like to me on revenue we got a carryover of $450,000 with new anticipated revenue of $635,000 for a total of $1,085,000 available for expenditures during the year, but we are going to end up with zero in the bank.”

The board also discussed its next meeting and decided to have an in-person meeting on July 8 in the Barren Fiscal Court chambers at the Barren County Government Center.

Recommended for you