LANCASTER — Garrard County taxpayers can look forward to upcoming tax breaks, now that the $4.5 million hospital debt has been paid off 10 years earlier than originally estimated.
Judge-Executive John Wilson told the Fiscal Court on Monday the debt has been paid off, saving the taxpayers about $3 million. Now, he plans to propose significant tax decreases.
“The people of Garrard County deserve some tax relief,” Wilson said. “(The tax decreases) could be the largest in county history.”
It will take at least two months for the cuts to be enacted, as magistrates will need to figure out the best alternatives for the residents of Garrard County.
“This is a promise that has been fulfilled,” Wilson said.
The county incurred the debt when the hospital went bankrupt, closing in 2002. Officials had borrowed $4.5 million from the Kentucky Association of Counties to continue the upkeep.
The debt was to be paid off in 2023. Under the original terms, Wilson explained, it would have taken nearly $8 million to pay off the debt and interest. With the help of Chris Bowling, of Bowling and Associates, the debt was refinanced. The county opted to aggressively pay back the money, using funds that already had been earmarked for the debt following the sale of the county farm.
- The tax rate for motor vehicles and watercraft for 2013 will remain at 10.2 percent, the same as this year.
- An amendment to the Bluegrass 911 agreement passed unanimously. The agreement now allows for a small tax to be added to water bills, as a trial run, to help fund the Bluegrass 911 communications in the county.
- An ordinance was adopted and a board of directors was appointed to create a tax for the Rolling Meadows area so roads can be brought up to county standards.
- Architectural plans were reviewed for future upgrades to the courthouse and the annex. Decisions regarding the plans will be made at a later meeting.
- Roads to be blacktopped were selected. The entirety of Doty Lane, along with portions of Hideaway Cove, Tuggle Road, Canoe Creek, Shelly Lane, Swamper Lane, Burdette Knob Road, Herrington Haven, Paper Mill Road, Nina Ridge Road and Old Lexington Road. Doty Lane and Nina Ridge will also be covered under FLEX funding, a program through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
- An executive session was called by County Attorney Mark Metcalf to discuss items of pending litigation.