Sheriff will continue to collect Danville school tax

May 18, 2004|HERB BROCK

The Danville Board of Education narrowly defeated a proposal under which the district administration would have collected Danville school taxes instead of the Boyle County Sheriff's Department. In a rare split vote, the board voted 3-2 to keep tax collection in the hands of the sheriff.

Under the board's current agreement with Sheriff LeeRoy Hardin, the district pays the department a commission of 2 1/2 percent on the city school taxes. According to Rowland, that represents about $100,000 a year.

Over the last several months, the board has conducted a study of tax collection, and some members decided the district could save money by authorizing the district administration to collect the taxes. The job would have fallen to financial officer Clevenger and her staff.

In an interview Monday before the board meeting, Hardin said history was on his side. "Several years ago, in the 1980s when (J.D.) Minnehan was superintendent, he decided it would be cheaper to have the city of Danville collect the city school taxes instead of us," said the sheriff. "As it turned out, the city was only able to collect about 75 percent of the city school taxes, while our collection rate was way over 90 percent. Today, our collection rate is over 99 percent."


A few years ago then-Superintendent Bill Grimes worked out an agreement with the sheriff's department under which the sheriff would collect taxes for a commission of 2 1/2 percent, said Hardin. "Our normal rate for taxing districts is 4 percent but we agreed to do the city school taxes for the lower rate."

Board member Paul Smiley, stressing his move should not be viewed as a criticism of Hardin's department but as an effort to save money, made a motion for the district to collect its own taxes, and Montgomery joined him in voting for it.

However, board chairperson Jean Crowley, vice chairman Steve Becker and Marvin Swann voted against it, arguing that what savings the district would make by not having to pay a tax collection commission might be offset by a failure to match the sheriff's nearly 100 percent collection rate.

In the meantime, Hardin has agreed to negotiate with the board over a lower collection rate.

He said he has offered to do the collection job for 2 percent. "I can't go any lower (than 2 percent). I'm a fee officer and I have to make enough to operate my office and pay my staff," he said.

Central Kentucky News Articles