By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
The Madison County Fiscal Court voted unanimously Tuesday morning to maintain the compensating tax rates on real and personal property in the county.
For real property, the rate of 8.3 cents per $100 of assessed property value was maintained. Personal property rates were retained at the rate of 10 cents per $100.
County Judge/ Executive Kent Clark said he and the other members of the court decided to maintain the rates, which have been the same for seven years, because of the affect the economy has had on county residents.
“We understand what people are going through right now. We understand how tough it is,” Clark said. “There’s s many people just trying to survive right now, and it’s just not in anybody's best interest, especially the residents of Madison County, to do anything with the tax rates except keep them the same as they’ve been for the last seven years.”
The court also accepted the rates of the special taxing districts within the county which have been previously reported on in the Register. The court cannot reject proposed tax rates from the districts, and accepting them is only a formality, Clark said.
Clark commended most of the districts for maintaining the same rates. He also noted that the county library board and Berea Independent Schools lowered their rates. The Madison County School district was the only district to raise its rates, voting 4 to 1 Monday evening to set a rate calculated to increase 4 percent.
“I'm sure they had a big meeting last night,” Clark said of the school board. “There was a lot of discussion, and the board felt they could justify the raise.”
Schools Superinten-dent Elmer Thomas said he proposed the higher rate so the district could begin all-day kindergarten in fall 2014.
In other business, the court:
• Set Oct. 31 as Halloween trick or treat night in the county. That day the courthouse square, 101 W. Main St., will be the site for Richmond’s annual Halloween Hoe-down.
• Approved a resolution to begin condemnation of a property on Crow Valley Hill. According to Clark, a stretch of the road near the property is wearing away and breaking apart, despite attempts by the county to keep it repaired.
“We’re going to lose it,” Clark said. “The more blacktop we put on it the worse it gets.”
He said Magistrate Roger Barger had talked briefly to the woman who lives on the property about using a section of it to reroute the road, and they had discovered the property has not been divided and gated as it should have been.
Clark described the situation as “precarious” and said the court needed to make a move before the road needed to be closed.
County Attorney Marc Robbins said condemnation takes some time, with many steps required.
Barger said less than an acre of the property is needed for the project, but there is no other place the road could go. He said he hopes the situation can be resolved another way, but beginning the process is necessary to ensure the safety of the people who travel the road.
The next fiscal court will next meet 9:30 a.m. Sept. 24 at the county courthouse, 101 W. Main St., Richmond.
Seth Littrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6623.