Special-called meeting Tuesday for ordinance readings

Published 2:57 pm Monday, August 5, 2019

There are some important issues to be discussed at a special-called meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday by the Middlesboro City Council.

The first item on the agenda is the approval of a resolution adopting and approving the execution of a memorandum of agreement between the Middlesboro City Council and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet and the Department of Highways in regards to the 15th Street project in the amount of $125,000.

The second item is the second reading for the consideration of an ordinance related to the establishment of a moratorium on reassessment of property values of qualified rehabilitation properties in the Middlesboro Main Street district.

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Councilwoman Judy Grandey read the description of the resolution at last week’s special-called meeting.

“The resolution adopting a Main Street, City of Middlesboro, Small Business and Property incentive package whereas the council of the City of Middlesboro has stated a need to attract small businesses to downtown Middlesboro,” Grandey read. “The need for property owners to clean and renovate properties across the downtown Middlesboro area and the council resolves to adopt an incentive package.”

Some of the incentives that are being offered in the package are low interest rates with local banks, tax moratorium on the reassessment of property values, construction dumpsters that will be provided by Waste Connections and then hauled at no expense for the businesses that are being rehabilitated.

There will also be marketing opportunities and a grant writer will also be available on site at no charge to the applicant. Main Street Middlesboro will advertise your business on their Facebook page.

“One of the things I like about this is let’s say that you have a building that’s maybe $50,000 and you go through this process,” Mayor Rick Nelson explained. “The City of Middlesboro would freeze that property assessment for five years. We would freeze it at $50,000 and if you put $2 million into it the taxes would not go up. It would stay at $50,000.”

According to Nelson, Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock has agreed on the fiscal court side that they would do the same thing they did with Pineville.

“Of course, our tax rate is a little bit lower but you would save a lot of money, but that’s just incentive to fix your building up,” Nelson said. “I think Pineville has had three or four buildings that have taken advantage of that.”

According to the council, the incentive package is only being offered to the downtown district, but they are discussing opening it up outside of the downtown district.

The ordinance passed on the first reading and will be brought before the council for the second reading at Tuesday’s meeting.

The third item on the agenda for the special-called meeting is the second reading for the consideration of an ordinance of the City of Middlesboro authorizing Bell county Sheriff and Bell County Clerk to bill and collect taxes on personal property, and ad valorem property taxes including all delinquent taxes.

At the first reading of the ordinance, Councilman Bo Green asked a question regarding the compensation for the tax collection.

“It does say the Clerk and the Sheriff shall be compensated for said tax collection in accordance to the terms set forth in a vocal agreement,” Green stated. “I’d like to request a copy of that before our second reading.”

“We have asked Sheriff (Mitch) Williams to ask (County) Attorney Neil Ward to prepare that, and it will be very simple ordinance,” Nelson said. “It will lay out that we are going to pay 3.25 percent for any money collected and other than that, it is pretty well cut and dry for the duties and responsibilities.”

Nelson believes that it will benefit the bottom line of about $20 to $25,000.

“That’s what we are thinking,” Nelson explained. “I will say that the sheriff sends out the first notice, second notice, puts names in the paper, and if you do not pay then they will take those outstanding tax wills and they will sell them and that means the City of Middlesboro will get all of our money.”

He said that the sheriff is at about a 98 percent collection rate and the city is at a 90 to 91 percent.

Councilman Bill Smith sponsored the first reading and Councilwoman Judy Grandey made a second to the motion and it passed unanimously by the council. The second reading on the ordinance will come before the council on Tuesday.

The final item on the agenda is first reading for the consideration of an ordinance amending an ordinance of the City of Middlesboro establishing a Code Enforcement Board.