Brumfield said that after reviewing the numbers the council used to calculate the rate increase, he is requesting the city take more time to review the documents before sending out the tax bills.
“After reviewing the documentation that was presented to us, I’m going to request that we not send out the tax bills until we revisit the issue,” Brumfield said Wednesday morning in a phone interview.
“I’m not absolutely confident that those numbers are correct ... I’m not real comfortable with what we did Monday night right now, so I’m going to suggest we hold off and don’t send out the bills just yet.”
General opposition to a rate increase
In order to raise a tax rate above the compensating rate, KRS 132.027 also mandates that the governmental body host a public hearing. Wilmore opened its meeting Monday night with a public hearing portion after advertising it in the Sept. 22 and Sept. 29 editions of The Jessamine Journal, following guidelines in the statue.
Two men showed up to speak at the public hearing, both voicing concern over raising the tax rate at all.
Wilmore mayor Harold Rainwater said the council had to look at increasing tax rates as an effort to make up for a lowered property valuation rate of nearly $3 million in the city and other increases in bills the city has to pay.
“Our rates increase, too; it’s part of the situation we’re in,” Rainwater said. “Everything around us has increased — retirement, fuel, garbage pick-up, utilities ... we’re not trying to get ahead; we’re trying to compensate for those losses.”
Brumfield reminded the room that the council hadn’t increased the real and personal property tax rates in three years.
The vote to raise the tax rate on real and personal property passed with a 4-2 vote, with councilmen Lynn Cooper and Jeff James voting against it.
Cooper said he couldn’t vote for an increase when residents are still battling to pay their other bills. He said he would like to see the council start the budget process earlier in the year to allow the council to become more familiar with the proposals and get more creative in finding areas to reduce spending.
The tax increase the council passed Monday would generate a total revenue increase of about $17,000, bringing the total to just more than $364,000. On a home valued at $100,000, the property owner would see an increase from paying $198 to $211 in taxes.
“I can promise you this council and I do try to be very frugal and conscientious; we try not to waste money,” Rainwater said. “It’s a hard thing to pass on costs, and that’s why it’s as small a number as it is.”