Thumbs up, down

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By Ben Carlson

A round of atta-boys and raspberries for those who have earned them:

Thumbs up to the Lawrenceburg-Anderson County Economic Development Authority for taking the initiative to survey businesses in an effort to figure out what is needed to get our economic development ball rolling.

The survey, announced Tuesday morning, begins Aug. 10 and a draft of the results is scheduled for release in late September.

Hopefully, this will lead to industry and jobs coming here instead of just the counties surrounding us.

Thumbs up to the Lawrenceburg City Council for tossing out last week a plan that requires businesses to provide income tax returns to purchase a business license.

Let's hope whatever system the city uses to set prices on business licenses is one that doesn't tie the fee simply to gross receipts. The idea that big companies should pay significantly more because of their sheer size and the amount of wear-and-tear they put on the city's infrastructure fails to take into account the amount of good they do for Anderson County in terms of providing jobs and a solid tax base.

Given the bull-headed attitude a few of our elected officials have toward economic development, let's be thankful for the few industries we do have and not consider them cash cows ripe for milking every time we get the chance.

Thumbs down to the rumors that last year's payroll tax debate is likely to resurface again this year. For newcomers, the fiscal court got itself embroiled in the idea that the county should hit up in-county workers for up to 3 percent of their pay. (Two percent equals a week's pay; beyond that, you do the math). Fortunately the idea was kicked to the curb. Not only is it patently unfair - only 1-in-4 Anderson residents with jobs actually work here - it would make us one of the few counties in Kentucky that pay both it and an insurance premium tax. If it comes up again, let's hope it not only gets kicked to the curb this time, but that it washes down the sewer, where it belongs.

Thumbs up to the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary for its ongoing effort to repair the Healing Field. The group continues to seek and accept donations to replace flagpoles there, which serve as permanent markers for Kentucky soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The repair bill is pushing $40,000, so every penny helps.

Thumbs up to Anderson County Chief Deputy BJ Crane, Kentucky State Police Sgt. Joe Milam and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officer Rick Hettinger. The trio of Anderson County residents retired this week after serving a combined 60-plus years in law enforcement. By all accounts, each served Anderson County well by conducting themselves with honor, integrity and a sense of fairness. Sheriff Troy Young said none of them will ever truly be replaced, and he's absolutely right. Here's hoping that each has a wonderful retirement; you've earned it, gentlemen.

Thumbs down to how poorly our police officers and emergency medical technicians are paid. That issue was never more apparent than during a recent fiscal court meeting when a candidate for the county's solid waste coordinator was discussed. Although absent from the meeting, Judge-Executive Steve Cornish sent word that he recommends paying the candidate $12 an hour. We agree that whomever gets the job certainly should receive a decent wage, but it shouldn't be more than a starting deputy or EMT receives, which would be the case here.

Thumbs up to the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club for sponsoring its second annual Wine Festival, scheduled for Sept. 13 from 2 to 11 p.m. at Lovers Leap Winery. Last year's inaugural event was outstanding and drew several thousand visitors. This year's event promises to be even better, with great food and live music all day. Please don't get your pants in a wad over the name; while there certainly is wine available (it's a wine festival, duh!), the focus of this event is family fun and community togetherness. Tickets are only $5 in advance and are available from any Rotarian.