Almost all of the taxing districts in Madison County have opted to accept the compensating rate for taxes in 2021.

Residents of Madison County are required by law to pay taxes split amongst seven local agencies including Madison County EMS, Madison County Public Library, the Madison County Extension Office, Madison County Health Department, Madison County Schools, local governments, and state taxes.

Agencies which accepted the compensating rates for 2021 include EMS, the public library, the extension office and all three governments (Berea, Richmond and Madison County).

The health department opted for no change in their rates from this year, compared to last year's rates.

Madison County EMS

The county EMS was one of several taxing districts to accept the compensating rate at 4.6%, according to Director Carlos Coyle.

Because of this, he noted the rate decreased 0.2 cents, going from 4.8 cents per $100 to 4.6. This is one district where taxpayers can expect a lower rate.

Madison County Public Library

According to Director Christina Cornelison, this district also opted to accept the compensating rate with real property at 5.4%; personal property rates at 7.37%; and motor vehicle rates set at 3.5% (this rate does not change).

"Real property values in our county are solid and steadily rising -- if we had kept our rates from last year, for example, our revenue would have actually exceeded the compensating rate," she said of accepting the compensating rate.

"The real property rate, which gives us about 85% of our tax revenue, decreased from last year. The personal property rate, which gives us about 10% of our tax revenue, increases," she added.

Cornelison said Madison Countians have shown such resilience and steadfastness over the past year.

"We are truly fortunate to be in a position where we are able to maintain our high level of library service while reducing the real property tax rate that gives us the bulk of our revenue," the director said.

Madison County Health Department

The health department is a taxing district who chose to remain the same and keep the rate of 5% coming out to 5 cents per $100.

According to Kelley McBride, the department's public information officer, the taxing district budget was approved at their board meeting held on June 9, 2021.

This rate is the same as the rate in 2020.

Madison County Extension Office

The extension office saw some increases in real and personal property taxes when accepting the compensating rate for 2021.

According to Aubrey Lawson, real property is set at 1.8 cents per $100, personal property is 3.37 cents and motor vehicles remained the same at 1.3.

The rates for 2020 were real property set at 1.772; personal property at 2.9830 and motor vehicle at 1.3.

"Overall there is a slight increase in real and personal property tax rate but motor vehicle stayed the same," she said.

Madison County governments

Just last week, the Madison County Fiscal Court approved a resolution that determined their tax rates for 2021.

For real property, the compensating rate formula determined by the state legislature will equate to 7.6 cents per $100 worth of property.

For tangible personal inventory property, the compensating rate for 2021 has been set at 9.5 cents per $100. Finally, motor vehicle and watercraft rates are set for 10 cents per $100.

This year, taxpayers can expect to pay $76 per $1,000 paid in real property compared to last year's rate of $80 per $1,000 paid.

Judge Reagan Taylor said the compensating rate is determined by the county's value through their property values. With higher property values, the rate is lower than what was set in 2020.

In the city of Richmond, the board of commissioners heard the first reading of Ordinance 21-23 which determines the Ad Valorem tax rate for the city for the 2021 year for all property in the city subject to taxation.

This year, the city chose to select the compensating rate for the 2021 rates. The rates will be adjusted for 16.3 cents on each $100 of personal property, and 13.4 cents on each $100 worth of real property. The tax for motor vehicle properties will be 28.7 cents for each $100.

The Berea City Council will likely reduce the ad valorem property tax rate, thanks to a surge in property values and assessments in the city.

The issue was discussed Thursday during a special called meeting of the Berea City Council, where Finance Director Susan Meeks released the findings of her 2021 property tax analysis.

"You will see the 2021 assessments have come in about $70 million more than last year on real property. So, that's pretty good news for the city," Meeks said.

Meeks further explained the substantial increase in the assessments were the result of a couple of factors. "This is really due to the increased sales price of real estate, as well as some re-assessments that have been going on in the city. Those two things have been the driving factor on those increases," Meeks said.

Because both property values and assessments are up, according to Meeks, the city is in a position to reduce its tax rate from 10.104 cents per $100 of assessed property to 9.9 cents per $100 of assessed value, yet still draw more revenue.

Madison County School System

The school system, one of the largest employers in the county, has yet to determine their rate for the 2021 school year.

Before the Madison County Board of Education had their regular school board meeting last week, they came together for a tax hearing.

During this meeting, the board was scheduled to set their annual tax rate. However, they were unable to do so at that time.

Superintendent David Gilliam told the board the district had not received all the viable information they needed from the Kentucky Department of Education to guide them in setting the tax rate.

Community Education Director Erin Stewart told The Register the information includes specifics about a reduction in other funding, corresponding with the tax rate revenues.

"I am still not comfortable recommending a specific rate tonight," Gilliam said previously.

Gilliam said they estimated an initial amount, which shows the board will be receiving $1,566,169.81 "less" from the state than they received in the prior year. He also said the amount this year would also include kindergarten funding. With that funding added in, the estimate will be closer to $1.9 million.

The current tax rate is 63.7, and Gilliam said the district intends to recommend the tax rate is reduced.

"With many properties being reassessed this past year, the district believes it is an opportunity to reduce the tax rate without reducing revenue," Stewart said.

In a public notice submitted to The Register, the board has proposed an increase of .01 cents which would raise the real and personal property rates to 63.8

A new tax date hearing is scheduled to tax place on Sept. 9 at 5:45 p.m. at the Madison County Schools Central Office on Highland Park Avenue.

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