MURRAY — The Calloway County Public Library Board of Trustees passed the library tax rate for the coming year, in addition to retaining legal counsel during its monthly meeting Tuesday night. 

The board had the option of choosing a compensating tax rate, a 4% increase, or a series of other alternative tax rates. During discussion of the rates, it was pointed out that the compensating rate was the same as last year’s rate, with the exception of an increase on personal property from 6.96 cents per $100 assessed value to 7.26 cents.

“Personal property tax rate is just a very small part of the tax base; the real property is where a majority of our tax funds come from,” said Susan Dunman, regional librarian with the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. 

Initially, trustee Riley Ramsey made a motion for the library to adopt the compensating rate, which would see a rate of 5.8 cents on real property, 7.26 cents on personal property and 3 cents on motor vehicles. The compensating rate would generate $1,435,152 in total revenue. That motion was seconded by trustee Joe Walker, and was further discussed by the board. 

“You’re saying that the personal property tax rate went up?” asked interim board president Mark Kennedy. “So that’s a .30 raise on everybody’s personal property rate right now as it stands?” 

Dunman explained that personal property was not paid by many people in the community, and didn’t have a significant impact on the average homeowner. 

“Not many pay a personal property tax; it is for if you own a business and if you have printer equipment or a well-digging machine or something like that,” Dunman said. “It is not just saying we are going to tax Mark because he is here. It is not the same as real property.”

After some discussion, trustee Winfield Rose expressed no interest in raising taxes for anyone in the county. 

“I am just going to say that I am not going to support that,” Rose said, which prompted some laughter from some members of the audience. “You find something amusing?” Rose asked a woman, Phyllis Miller, who was sitting in the audience. 

“No, I find it almost unbelievable that you would not take a compensating rate, which is the easiest thing for any board to do, for less than 3 cents on a $100 property,” Miller said. “There is $140,000 in revenue over this whole county; how much is that per person? A dime or a quarter?” 

After voting on Riley’s earlier motion, trustee Joe Walker reversed his position and voted no on the compensating rate alongside Rose. Rose then made a motion to accept an alternate tax rate that was identical to the rate passed the previous year; which would see a rate of 5.8 cents on real property, 6.96 cents on personal property and 3 cents on motor vehicles, and would generate $1,429,328 for the library. 

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Another item the board addressed on Tuesday was the acquisition of legal counsel for the board in matters outside of real estate. In previous board meetings, the board had looked at attorney Wes Sullenger, who had agreed to represent the board while waving a retainer fee at a rate of $250 an hour. 

Dunman made the board aware that the board does not receive legal representation through KDLA, and said it was recommended that all boards have access to legal representation. Rose made a motion to accept Sullenger as legal counsel for the board, and the board voted unanimously in approval. 

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