County and city review consensual annexations | New

Some McCracken County officials—frustrated with a stagnant tax line—view the city of Paducah’s annexation policy as a loophole in state law.

This year, City Commissioners introduced five readings for consensus annexations:

• 5250 and 5266 US Highway 60 West with Sonic Drive-in and Taco John’s

• 185 Lion’s Den Lane, with Tenacity Fitness

• 5470 Old Highway 60 with instant Valvoline oil change

• Non-commercial land at 1630 N. Friendship Road

• 5345 Hinkleville Road with a tractor supply company and O’Reilly Auto Parts

“I can’t fault the city for wanting to grow, especially if it’s consensual,” County Commissioner Eddie Jones told The Sun. “It’s not unhealthy because the city chose this, it’s unhealthy because Frankfurt didn’t solve the problem with legislation. And they should.

In a June 28 letter to city, county and economic development leaders in Greater Paducah, Jones proposed a 20-year revenue-sharing solution: 40% to the city and county each and 20% to ” a joint city-county industrial development authority” for future economic development.

Property, insurance premiums, and business taxes generally fund counties. Those with more than 30,000 inhabitants – and out of 120 counties, around 30 meet this criterion – are limited to a 1% payroll tax and lose tax revenue from territory annexed to the city under KRS 68.197.

“The annexation to Ballard (county) has nothing to do with McCracken because of the law,” Jones said. “If we were in a county of 20,000 people, the city could annex all day, and it wouldn’t affect the county budget. Over time, there is no substitute for lost income from a tax perspective.

Jones said statutes stamp a county when the city exists in two or more counties.

“I don’t understand why, because one affected county hurts more than two affected counties,” he said. “There is a real need for lawmakers to fix this, because it is unhealthy to have this situation … which pits counties against cities in terms of growth. Some communities have inter-local agreements that say, “Let’s fix the problem and share the revenue. ”

Jones said remedial legislation seems unlikely because the situation only exists in about 30 counties in the state.

At a March 14 tax court meeting, commissioners discussed revenue-sharing options — something to revisit at Monday’s meeting, McCracken County Executive Judge Craig Clymer said.

“The county has not discussed any formal proposal,” Clymer said. “It may or may not be consistent with what Jones has (written), but we have to discuss these things and decide what to do.”

Paducah Mayor George Bray said he and Clymer discussed the possibilities.

“It’s a topic (we’ve) discussed it on more than one occasion, and we both see the benefits of cooperating for the benefit of the community in the long run, but – I think we’re a bit out of time “, Bray said. .

“I think we need to solve the problems of the sports complex and 911. A successful implementation of the cooperation and collaboration of these two great projects could bode very well for our future annexation agreement.

Planning Director Nic Hutchison said securing commercial property is not the city’s strict goal. Under its annexation policy — seen at paducahky.gov/annexation-policy — residential, vacant, or underdeveloped properties can annex by consent. Those who do receive property tax refunds, remediation services, and flat-rate closing costs.

“In these situations, there is no change in revenue for the county when the property is annexed,” Hutchison said. “It’s when the property is developed that the county loses that 1% payroll tax, but they would still maintain the property tax.”

In March 2021, the city set consensus annexations as one of 12 priorities, including six per year as an “arbitrary goal”.

“That (figure) was a benchmark, as we were focusing on performance metrics and consensus annexations. It wasn’t like there was a hard number we had to get,” Hutchison said. “We don’t have a revenue projection; it’s hard to say, because every property is different.”

Although the city does not seek non-consensual annexations in its current policy, “a handful” of city-owned properties not incorporated into the city are subject to annexation.

Hutchison said a major goal is to turn Paducah Territory into a less jagged map — the city’s western edge looks like an incomplete jigsaw puzzle with isolated tracts of land. Population growth also qualifies the city for additional grants.

“It’s mainly about cleaning up that border and making it contiguous,” he said. “The other aspect is looking at existing services and making sure we can maintain them in a reasonable way. If he ticks all those boxes, we can proceed with the annexation process.

In the past, county residents have raised umbrage: At an April 4 planning commission meeting, a crowd attended to confront members over the rezoning of 4.6 acres at 185 Lion’s Den Lane in a commercial district. The rezoning was passed, but with banned alcohol sales and electronic signage at the request of attendees.

“When a property is annexed, it doesn’t change ownership,” Hutchison told Residential Concerns. “It remains private property. Of course, the only thing is that they start receiving municipal (city) services.

“The City of Paducah believes annexations should not be an adversarial process, and we see it as a learning opportunity for the community to get involved and learn more about the process. Our approach has been that of consensual annexations. Ultimately, it is a private owner who makes the decision who sees the benefit of getting services (from the city).

Annexing cities is common practice, but the resulting controversy is neither new nor unique to McCracken. The city of Mayfield’s 2016 decision to annex part of the Graves County school property sparked lawsuits and protests.

In 2008, an annexation of the Lone Oak Road corridor angered county officials. With only commercial properties annexed, McCracken found himself with less income and still held responsible for fire and justice services for nearby residents.

In 2017, a 174-acre annexation in the Schneidman Road area — annexing thousands of narrow feet on a right-of-way owned by Paducah & Louisville Railway — prompted a county lawsuit, which a judge dismissed, recognizing the city. legal precedent.

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