Wilder counters double-taxation argument

December 01, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

PERRYVILLE - Danville residents get plenty for the taxes they pay the county, Boyle County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder said at a meeting here Tuesday.

He took time from his speech about the county's financial crisis to respond to a recent editorial in The Advocate-Messenger that said if Wilder offered a deal to Junction City then he should offer one to Perryville and to Danville, whose residents pay both a city and county payroll tax.

Wilder offered to give Junction City about $30,000, the amount it plans to collect from a 1 percent payroll tax it just levied, so that tax could be eliminated.

He offered Perryville residents 1 percent of the payroll tax. He said that he believes that the county ought to share with incorporated areas in the county that have trouble providing services.


"I don't back off from that one iota," Wilder said. "Because if they go bankrupt, who is going to have to help - the county ..."

Wilder was fired up about the newspaper's editorial that suggested Danville residents who pay both a city and county payroll tax are double-taxed for some services.


He responded that the Kentucky Constitution allows the county to levy a payroll tax on city residents, and if the population of the county is less than 30,000 then it doesn't have to share the revenue with the city. But Wilder said Boyle County does share, and the idea that Danville residents don't get anything for their tax dollars is "hogwash."

The county completely funds animal control, and Wilder said that 80 percent of those runs are within the city of Danville.

The county funds the ambulance service, and Wilder said that 75 percent of those runs are inside the city limits.

The jail is funded by the county, and Wilder said that 70 percent of the inmates there, not counting state inmates, were arrested by the Danville Police Department.

Danville residents bring their trash to Gose Pike convenience center and their limbs to Perryville.

He said that Danville's property tax is nearly three times the county rate, and the payroll tax is twice as high, so it isn't feasible that the county pay for everything the city does.

"When you see someone and they say they are double-taxed, now you know the rest of the story, as old Paul would say," Wilder said.

Wilder also responded to grumbles he said he's heard from people who live outside the county, but work here and pay the local payroll taxes. He said that they drive on county roads, visit the restaurant here, that the county provides a job for them, and that they are served by the ambulances here.

"I told someone, 'If you fall down with a heart attack while you're here, we aren't going to send to Casey County to come get you,'" Wilder said.

Would tax discourage industrial prospects?

Pete Coyle, the planning and zoning commission chairman, asked Wilder whether the tax would discourage another plant from locating here.

Wilder said it could affect a factory's decision, but that Boyle County had other things to offer that make it an attractive location. He also pointed out that Boyle would still have one of the lowest payroll taxes in the area, and that it has the lowest property tax in the state.

At an earlier meeting, Wilder had said that the county was conservative when it estimated how much money it will bring in from taxes because he feared that another plant could leave. Later, he backed off that statement, saying that he didn't mean that a factory was in jeopardy, but that it was always a possibility.

At the Perryville Methodist Church, despite the rain and chill, there was the largest crowd of residents at a county meeting yet. Wilder apologized that the residents' didn't have a magistrate there. They were represented by Martin G. Curtis, who resigned earlier this year. Wilder said the governor not only hadn't appointed anyone, but that he hadn't received any acknowledgment that the resignation had been accepted.

By law, Gov. Ernie Fletcher will appoint someone to fill Curtis' vacant seat.

The next meeting about the county's financial crisis will be 6 p.m. Thursday at Forkland Community Center.

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