UPDATE: Olive Hill Council Approves 0.5 Percent Payroll Tax

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UPDATE 10/15/13 @ 11:05 p.m.
OLIVE HILL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A new payroll tax is on the way in Olive Hill after a budget battle that has lasted for several weeks.

City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of an 0.5 percent payroll tax.

Council members previously had proposed a 1.5 percent tax but withdrew it after backlash from neighbors.

The city hopes the tax will make up for a nearly $60,000 budget shortfall.

The payroll tax will go into effect after legal counsel gives its stamp of approval.

UPDATE 9/27/13
OLIVE HILL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A proposed payroll tax is back on the table in Olive Hill, Ky.

Thursday night during a special City Council meeting, members decided to move forward on .5 percent tax.

Council members previously proposed a 1.5 percent tax but took it off the table after receiving a lot of negative feedback from neighbors.

Council says implementing the tax would prevent them from having to make devastating across-the-board cuts.

Members say they will take up the issue at another special meeting soon but a date has not yet been set.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 9/17/13 @ 9:45 p.m.
OLIVE HILL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A payroll tax proposal was off the table Tuesday night in Olive Hill, leaving town leaders with limited time to figure out a plan to avoid major budget cuts across the board.

The first reading of a 1.5 percent payroll tax was approved earlier this year. After major backlash from residents, though, it was repealed at Tuesday's Council meeting.

The town has to cut $60,000 from its budget. If they don't come up with a way to make up that money in three weeks, the effects could be devastating. They include possible cuts to the police and fire departments.

Council members say they will meet again Sept. 26 to try and come up with a plan.

UPDATE 8/20/13 @ 9:30 p.m.
OLIVE HILL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Two weeks ago, an Olive Hill city councilman proposed a budget that cut the city's FADE Drug Task Force officer.

Last November, the Olive Hill mayor was arrested and charged with selling marijuana by that same undercover officer.

That's why Councilman Allen Stapleton's version of the budget was called controversial.

"We should not ever have been discussing the FADE officer,” Councilman Glenn Meade said at their meeting Tuesday night. “All the things that they do, we can't afford it on our own."

Olive Hill Mayor Kenny Fankell says that budget would have prevented other departments in the city from being affected.

At Tuesday night's meeting, that version of the budget cutting the FADE officer was off the table, and they moved forward with an earlier budget they'd previously agreed on that cuts $60,000 from five departments across the board to help address a budget shortfall.

The city also had their first reading of a new 1-and-a-half percent employee license fee tax that Meade says could bring in as much as $260,000 in new revenue and would help prevent cuts.

Grayson already has a similar employee license fee tax in place. It's just 1 percent.

OLIVE HILL, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A city councilman in a community plagued by drug abuse is proposing getting rid of an officer who specializes in attacking the drug problem.

Last November, Danny Sparks, the former mayor of Olive Hill was arrested and charged with selling marijuana near a school.

Now a city councilman is proposing cutting the undercover officer who made that bust.

On Tuesday, city council had a special meeting to vote on a budget ordinance they'd gone over last week.

To the surprise of others on council, Councilman Allen Stapleton introduced a new budget at the meeting Tuesday that cuts Olive Hill’s FADE Drug Task Force officer.

Both budgets account for a $60,000 shortfall.

In the first budget council went over and agreed on last week, the cuts are made in different departments across the board.

The FADE Task Force has already opened nearly 50 cases this year in Carter County. A couple weeks ago they busted a man bringing nearly 30 grams of heroin into town through the mail.

Councilman Glenn Meade says it's mystifying why his fellow councilman would want to make this cut.

"I don't understand why we'd ever get rid of our FADE officer when they're making such a big dent in the drug traffic here in Olive Hill," Meade said.

Stapleton says he believes cutting the FADE officer is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

"We have qualified police officers that can do the drug work here in town,” Stapleton said. “I'm not against FADE, but at this time, the way our budget is, we don't have the money to do it, and if the budget can improve, maybe we can go back into it later on."

Council voted Tuesday to table their budget discussion.

"We need to come up with one budget,” Meade said. “We did and made an agreement across the board. Now Mr. Stapleton wants to do a new budget ordinance on his own deleting the FADE officer. It is unusual. I've never seen two budgets proposed simultaneously."

They'll either have another special meeting or address this at their next regular meeting.

FADE operates in Carter, Greenup, and Lewis counties.

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