Calhoun City Council held a first reading for approving real and personal property tax rates and a potential raise in city water rates to account for the McLean County Regional Water District rate raise. The council also discussed creating an ordinance regarding food trucks within city limits.

The proposed real property tax rates for the city will stay the same at 12.3 cents per $100 of valuation. For example, homeowners with a home valued at $100,000 would pay $123 annually in real property taxes under this rate.

The proposed personal property tax rate is 14.51 cents per $100 of valuation, a compensating rate which is decreased from the 21.95 cent rate approved last fiscal year.

Additionally, the council held a first reading to raise water rates following the McLean County Regional Water Commission’s Sept. 1 meeting, in which a raise was approved for water rates, effective Oct. 1, 2020. The new MCRWD rates would increase from $2.68 to $3.22 per 1,000 gallons. The MCRWD also approved another raise effective July 1, 2021 to $3.38.

The raise in MCRWD rates was a suggestion from the Kentucky Rural Water Association to bring the district more in line with other regional water districts and account for revenue loss.

There was some concern at the MCRWD Commission meeting regarding cities having to increase their own water rates in accordance with the MCRWD rates, thus putting a potential burden on county residents. While members said it was a tough decision, however, the new rates were approved to keep up with current bills and account for loss of revenue.

McLean County Judge-Executive Curtis Dame who attended the meeting, said that according to Audubon Area Community Services research, most residents do not need assistance with water and sewage bills

“We’ve done our research on costs like this with the Audubon Area … the only utility payments that we exceed that people request assistance to pay for is electrical payments … that doesn’t mean that if the water rates go high that they won’t ask for help,” Dame said. “Even if they do get high, they’re still cheaper than most everybody around us.”

According to Calhoun Mayor Ron Coleman, the city must raise its own rates in accordance to MCRWD rates to account for the extra cost the city will incur on the raise.

A representative from the Kentucky Rural Water Association said that, as a result of the raise, the average customer in North McLean would pay an additional $5 a month, in Livermore, $3.50, and in Calhoun, $7.

Under the new rates for MCRWD, Calhoun would pay another 54 cents per $1,000 gallons of water usage, according to City Clerk Tara Woodburn.

“To me, there’s not a lot to discuss. They’re basing this on the recommendation from the Rural Water Department,” Coleman said. “As much as i hate to say this, we can’t eat that…We have to raise our rates. We can’t absorb this.”

Calhoun’s current combined residential sewage and water rates are $57.38 inside the city limits and $63.75 outside for the first 2,000 gallons of usage. With the proposed increase, the water rates will be raised 20%. Specific figures will be discussed and approved in a special-called Calhoun City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m.

Another issue brought to the council by Farley’s owner Carol Robertson was related to food trucks entering the city.

Robertson said it is unfair that food trucks are able to conduct business in the city without having to partake in paying any city or county taxes.

“What I want you to realize is what your businesses are paying to be in your county,” she said. “We pay $2,487 on that property to operate here in Calhoun … All I’m asking is, if they want to come do business in Calhoun, then they have to pay like we have to pay.”

This cost, she said does not include city taxes, utility bills or sponsorships to support local organizations and sports teams.

Woodburn said the trucks are required to purchase a business license. Enforcing this, however, is difficult at times.

“Nobody ever comes in here to buy a business license. We have to try to round them up to get them,” she said.

Coleman said he has received a copy of the Owensboro ordinance regarding food trucks within city limits, which is several pages long. He said he, along with City Attorney Bill Quisenberry and several council members will have to go through the ordinance and pick our sections that Calhoun can use to create its own ordinance.

“We have zero ordinances on food trucks,” he said. “So we’re going to cherry-pick that and find out what fits Calhoun.”

Coleman said he hopes to have a first reading for a potential food truck ordinance during the council’s October meeting.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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