Last updated: May 21. 2014 9:52AM - 2203 Views
By Gary Smith Guest Columnist

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This guest column is in keeping with the statement I made in my most recent letter to the editor of the Daily News in which I said I was going to make more public the information I have learned in regard to the “Recallable Nickel” property tax passed by the Bell County Board of Education (BCBOE).

Using two Open Records requests during the past year, I have asked the BCBOE for information regarding the amount of money collected with the Recallable Nickel tax, which is an additional property tax imposed on the citizens of Bell County.

Each time, after approximately a month after having requested the information from the school board, I finally got response to my inquiries. In the board attorney’s letters to me I was informed that the BCBOE had received $321,833 in 2013 and expects to receive $315,875 from the Recallable Nickel by June 30 of this year. That brings the total amount of Recallable Nickel tax that will have been collected by June 30, 2014 to $637,708. This money can only be used for construction costs.

In addition to these efforts, I have been trying to find out who is responsible for creating the tax bills that arrive in our mailboxes in November. I wanted to know this so that I could attempt to have the Recallable Nickel shown as a separate line item on our tax bills like the library, the health department and the 109 garbage board are shown. After visiting the Property Valuation Administrator’s (PVA) office, the Sheriff’s office, the Board of Education office, the County Court Clerk’s Office and after writing several letters to the Kentucky Department of Revenue and the Kentucky Department of Education I have learned that tax collection is complicated business. The bottom line in the preparation of the tax bills, however, is that, according to Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS133.220), “the County Court Clerk shall prepare for the use of the sheriff, or collector, a correct tax bill for each taxpayer in the county whose property has been assessed…. Each tax bill shall show the rate of tax upon each one hundred dollars ($100) worth of property for state, county and school purposes.”

I wrote a letter to County Clerk Becky Blevins on March 3 requesting that she show the Nickel as a separate line item on the tax bills but as we all know, she retired from office.

On April 10, I met with interim County Court Clerk Rob Lincks to discuss with him the need for having the Recallable Nickel shown separately on the tax bills. Mr. Lincks told me that he would get in touch with the Legislative Research Commission to determine if he could legally break down the property tax to show the Recallable Nickel as a separate line item. I gave him a copy of the KRS 133.220 so he could see it is the responsibility of the County Court Clerk to “prepare” the tax bills for the sheriff by Sept. 15. He promised to get back to me with a reply either way on the issue.

On April 28, 2014, Mr. Lincks reported to me that he is still waiting for advice from the Legislative Research Commission before he makes a decision regarding my request to have the “Nickel” shown as a separate line item on our tax bills.

The frustration continues but I am not going to give up on this quest just yet.

I will offer an update to this effort as more information is learned.

A taxpaying citizen in Bell County.

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