City council finalizes tax rate hike

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By Meaghan Downs

The city council unanimously approved the second reading of its 3.26 percent tax increase on Sept. 9.
Council members voted 5-0 to set the real property tax rate at $1.90 per $1,000 assessed value and the personal property tax rate at $3.07 per $1,000 assessed value.
Councilman Larry Giles was absent during last Monday night’s meeting.
The new compensating rates will add $6 per $100,000 assessed real property and $22.20 per $100,000 assessed personal property for the upcoming fiscal year.
The tax rates will bring in about $1.1 million in revenue for the city.
Real property assessments for the city went down by about $1.3 million since last year, according to councilman and finance committee chairman Sandy Goodlett, who cited numbers provided by the Property Valuation Administration during the council’s first reading at the end of August, while personal property assessments in Lawrenceburg went up slightly by about $475,000.
The city also set a flat rate on motor vehicles at $2.29 per $1,000 assessed value, which will produce a revenue of about $131,481. The increase in revenue from 2012, about $4,799, will be used for increased general fund expenses including salaries and benefits, supplies and equipment and the repair and maintenance of city public properties.  
The council also approved a second reading of its electric utility franchise, agreeing to continue to offer a non-exclusive electric franchise for a 10-year period and to receive 3 percent of gross receipts annually.

Emergency management
to update school staff radios
Bart Powell, director of public safety, announced in his presentation to the council that emergency management will be working with Anderson County school district staff to update their internal radio system to include an Anderson County emergency management channel.
Powell said adding a channel for emergency management communications with school staff will increase the capability of emergency management to respond to a scene. Powell estimated that about 40 radios in the schools’ internal system will be affected.
Powell also said emergency management worked with the city police and the sheriff’s office to help conduct site safety surveys for the school district.
Powell said he’d been elected to the board of directors of the Franklin County chapter of the Red Cross, which also serves Anderson County, and encouraged the council to support both the Red Cross and the Kentucky Blood Center.

Police department hires
two new officers
Two new city police officers, Jason Peyton and Joseph Massey, have joined the city police department, according to Police Chief Chris Atkins in his presentation to the council.
The police department now has 14 police officers on staff, including himself, Atkins said.
Atkins also mentioned that the police department purchased two new patrol cars, two 2012 Dodge Chargers that are street-ready.
Two older vehicles will be stripped and added to the city’s surplus to be approved in the October meeting, City Clerk Robbie Hume said.