In Sept. 24 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
It appears that the question of a countywide Independence Day celebration may linger on for some time after no clear resolution was made regarding the city of Russell Springs' proposal at this month's Jamestown City Council meeting.
Lakefest Chair and councilwoman Marcelene Taylor said the Lakefest committee had already held several well-attended meetings in the past few weeks.
"I have been approached by one of the councilmen from Russell Springs wanting to go in together, maybe a three-way (with the county) and I told them I had to bring it before the committee before any decision is made," Taylor said.
During this month's Russell Springs City Council meeting councilmen Eric Selby and Ricky Barnes proposed that the city of Russell Springs, along with the city of Jamestown and the Russell County Fiscal Court jointly host a celebration each year at Veterans Fairgrounds.
"We have had the Lakefest 43 years and we would certainly welcome their help," Taylor said. "We've always tried to include the whole county when we planned activities but we never did have much interest to serve on the committee but people from Jamestown."
Taylor said whether the celebration was moved to another location or held in Jamestown, they would welcome any help.
"We hated that we had to put (Lakefest) off last year but there were so many problems that we were facing, we didn't really have a choice but this year things are coming together," she said. "I don't see any obstacles this year."
Mayor Brooks Bates said the city had budgeted $8,500 for Lakefest in 2010.
Taylor requested to meet with all of the council members individually to further gauge their opinions on the issue.
"I feel like I know what the committee is going to say," she said.
The Lakefest committee is open to the public and will meet Thursday night at 6 p.m. at city hall.
In other happenings at the meeting:
• The council heard the first reading of this fiscal year's ad valorem, or property, tax ordinance. Real property and personal property will be taxed at 16 cents per $100 of assessed value this year.
All taxes paid on or before Dec. 31 will receive a 2 percent discount from the total face value of the tax bill and all taxes paid after Jan. 31 of next year will have a penalty of 10 percent in addition to the tax payable.
"On our property taxes, we've got almost $33 million residential and farm, $2.5 million, which makes almost $36 million and we have about $6 million that are exempt for people who are 65 and over, our demographics are probably grayer than most areas," Bates said. "We also have $18 million commercial and about $4.7 million telecommunications and $2.7 (million) tangible tax that makes a little over $55 million."
The city took in $114,000 last fiscal year in taxes, according to the mayor.
• Bates spoke on the city's revenue stream, saying there were some "holes this time that couldn't be helped."
The city's payroll taxes were off about $55,000 and the city's insurance premium tax was off about $10,000.
"That is usually stable," he said. "It usually doesn't fluctuate that much."
The mayor did say the city was catching back up on their general fund as they gained about $21,000 in the month of September to the fund.
Bates also said the general fund would swell during the coming months as tax bills are collected and he announced that the year's first municipal aid road fund money had came in, a total of $19,000.
"All in all with the way the conditions are, I think we're in pretty sound shape unless something drastic happens," Bates said.
• Bates announced that the new Jamestown Water Plant would be dedicated on Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. at the plant site.
The plant has been given the verbal go ahead to produce 6 millions gallons a day and is just awaiting the official paperwork, according to Public Works Director Ottis Skaggs.
Skaggs said the plant could eventually produce 8 million gallons a day just by adding a few membranes, something that the city will look into in the future.
• The mayor and several other city officials will be out of the office several day this week attending an out-of-town governmental conference.