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City sets tax rate hearing

City officials voted to leave its property tax rates intact for 2018, though doing so would require a public hearing.

In a memo to the Winchester Board of Commissioners, city treasurer Debbie Bailey said the compensating rate, which will generate the same revenue as 2017, is 14.5 cents per $100 value for real property. The compensating rate is 0.1 cents lower than the current rate of 14.6 cents.

City Commissioner Kenny Book made the motion to leave the tax rates at 14.6 cents for real property and 14.99 cents for tangible property, though doing so would require a public hearing.

Approving a tax rate other than the compensating rate will require a public hearing. Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said the hearing could be canceled if the commissioners decide to take the compensating rate.

The hearing was set for the commission’s regular meeting on Oct. 17. A second reading of the ordinance could be in a special meeting, she said.

In the memo, Bailey suggested having the hearing during the Oct. 3 meeting to allow the tax bills to be mailed the week of Oct. 23, but Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said several commissioners will be out of town Oct. 3.

Bailey recommended the commission could adopt a 4 percent rate of 15.0 cents, which is the maximum increased allowed without a recall vote. Tangible property, which is tied to the real property rate, would then be 17.34 cents, she said.

The commission also voted to close Cleveland Avenue between Main Street and Wall Street for several weeks this fall. Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham said work on the courthouse bell tower is scheduled to begin in October, with the tower being removed and replaced with a temporary roof.

“They will lift the tower off and bring steel in to cover the roof,” Branham said. “(The contractors) would like no pedestrian access other than on that raised sidewalk.”

Branham said materials would be stored next to the courthouse and in the parking sports. A crane would also be in place for several days during the four to six week period.

Branham said the area would be fenced off.

The commissioners approved the plan in concept, pending further details from the county and input from Main Street Winchester about its impact on downtown events.

Branham said the street would be open by December. The new tower will not be installed until 2018.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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