The Richmond Register

Local News

February 5, 2013

Stumbo, Edelen say most taxing districts ‛do it the right way’

FRANKFORT — Back in November when state Auditor Adam Edelen released a report on special taxing districts, he called the system “byzantine, a ghost government” and a “scandal.”

But Tuesday, as Edelen stood with House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and several co-sponsors of a bill which would require transparency and accountability, he and Stumbo went out of their way to say most special taxing districts “do it the right way.”

“These bad examples should not disparage those who do it the right way,” Edelen said. Stumbo said it is a “credit to the Kentuckians that serve on the various entities that there hasn’t been rampant and widespread abuse.”

There have several publicized reports of rampant abuse and questionable spending at some larger taxing districts such as the Lexington Airport Board and Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District.

Preventing such abuse is the purpose of House Bill 1, sponsored by Stumbo and resulting from Edelen's review.

The bill would require taxing districts to file reports with a central registry housed in the Department of Local Government; require annual financial reporting and audits; and authorize Edelen’s office to audit any which don’t comply.

Edelen said the bill puts “teeth in the law to compel compliance.”

Governing boards of such districts (libraries, conservation districts, water and sewer districts, some health districts) will be required to follow the local county’s code of ethics. An online database will allow taxpayers to see the districts’ financial reports and compliance status.

The bill would also clean up dozens of conflicting statutes governing various special taxing districts – often authorized to supply needed or desired public services which local governments couldn’t afford to provide from their general funds.

With Edelen and Stumbo were several co-sponsors and supporters, including members of leadership from both parties and both legislative chambers.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, who has pushed similar legislation in the past, said the issue’s “time has come” and predicted HB 1 “is going to sail through the Kentucky state Senate.”

While the bill appears to have overwhelming support, that isn’t to say there aren’t some with concerns.

Senate Republican Whip Brandon Smith worries about the impact of the bill on libraries. There are 106 library districts in Kentucky, and Edelen’s review found all 106 in compliance with all reporting requirements. Smith chair’s one of those library boards.

“They’ve got an issue that has merit,” Smith said. “I understand that, but I have some concerns, especially about the impact on libraries, and I want some more information.”

Mary Lynn Collins of the Friends of Kentucky Libraries said her organization supports the measure but will be on guard about the possibility of potential amendments to turn the bill into something libraries might find unacceptable.

“We will be watching very closely to see what amendments will be filed,” Collins said. “We’re very supportive of House Bill 1 as it’s written, but we’ll look at each and every amendment that is filed.”

Some members of the legislature have said they’d like to give local governments power to set tax rates for the libraries.

But Edelen and his staff, as well as Stumbo, say nothing in the proposed bill will do that. It requires “accountability and transparency,” but does nothing to change the governance or funding structure of libraries.

Stumbo said the bill will get its first committee hearing Wednesday.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

  • 4-18 George WilliamsWEB.jpg Suicide attempt fatal for inmate

    A Todd County man died Tuesday at a Lexington hospital following a suicide attempt at the Madison County Detention Center, according to Madison and Fayette county officials.
    George Kenneth Williams, 50, of Allensville, was transported Monday afternoon by Madison County EMS to Baptist Health Richmond, according to EMS Director Jimmy Cornelison. He was then transferred to Baptist Health in Lexington where he died Tuesday, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training

    A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
    Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
    Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.

    April 17, 2014

  • EKU dorm sprinklers may have been activated maliciously

    Fire-suppression sprinklers went off about 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Eastern Kentucky University’s Martin Hall dormitory, prompting its evacuation.
    Fluctuating pressure then caused a campus water main to break, according to EKU spokesperson Mark Whitt.
    The cause is uncertain, but university officials are investigating to determine if the sprinklers were activated maliciously, Whitt said.
    The residence hall houses 260 students who were placed in other university housing or stayed with friends. All were able to move back in later in the day, he said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sixth person charged in motel meth bust

    A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
    Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

Yes.
No
     View Results