Campbell Co. judge cuts library's tax rate by more than half - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Campbell Co. judge cuts library's tax rate

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CAMPBELL COUNTY, KY (FOX19) -

A Northern Kentucky judge says the Campbell County library improperly raised it's tax rate for the past 35 years.

On Wednesday, the judge ruled to cut the county library's tax rate by more than half.

According to Jeff Mando, the attorney for the local library district, 78 different counties across Kentucky have been setting their tax rates the same way as Campbell County. Similar suits have been filed in Boone and Kenton County, but no ruling has been made.

Last year, the Campbell County public library proposed a 27% increase in tax rates to fund a new branch, raising the eyebrows of some residents. Yesterday, a local judge ruled that the county libraries have been raising their tax rates for years without filing a state required petition.

"My clients aren't per se against the library. What they're concerned about is there's a statute that says you're free to ask for more money, just go back to the people," says the attorney for the plaintiff Brandon Voelker.

The judge decided to cut the library's property tax rate of 7.7 cents per $100 to the three cents it was back in 1978.

"You're probably looking at a reduction on their taxes of approximately $120 to $130 per year," said Voelker.

The library's attorney Jeff Mando says according to House Bill 44, libraries are considered a taxing district and don't require a petition to make rate adjustments.

"It was following the law, and following the advice of the council of the state agency that oversees libraries in general across the state," Jeff Mando.

Mando says if this decision is upheld, about 60% of the library's budget will be cut, jeopardizing many of their services.

"For a lot of kids, those computers that are in those libraries like in Campbell County are the only access to computers they have," Mando.

Local resident Kathryn Dee owns property in Campbell County and says she just wants to see a fair result.

"We definitely don't want to see the libraries be hurt but if they've been overpaying then everybody needs their dollar," Kathryn Dee.

Voelker says he believes refunds could be awarded to make up for as many as five years of the increased tax rate, but the judge hasn't ruled on whether the taxpayers should get a refund or not.

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