News briefs: Nov. 30, 2012

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By The Staff

House Bill 1 to address

special district oversight

House Speaker Greg Stumbo and state Auditor Adam Edelen announced Thursday that a comprehensive effort to bring greater transparency to special districts would become House Bill 1 during the 2013 regular legislative session.

“Both the House and Senate reserve the lower bill numbers for their highest priorities, which underscores the importance we have for this issue,” Speaker Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) said in a release announcing the legislation. “The legislature has debated reform before in piecemeal fashion, but the auditor’s recent report on special districts is the first time anyone has gotten a comprehensive look at their true impact on the state. House Bill 1 will make sure these entities conform to the same rules that have long applied to local and state governments.”

Auditor Edelen's office earlier this month unveiled a public database and accompanying report that shine new light on a $2.7 billion layer of government that has operated in the shadows for decades. The auditor’s office identified more than 1,200 special districts, ranging from water, sewer and fire districts to airport and health department boards and more. They spend roughly the same as what the state spends on elementary and secondary education.

“In a time in which accountability demands precision, the people of Kentucky deserve a system of oversight for what very well may be the second-largest level of government in Kentucky,” Edelen said during a press conference with Stumbo. “What we have done today is an extraordinarily important first step in making sure we’ve got that kind of reform.”

The legislation is being finalized, but they said it would:

  • Clean up the statutes that govern special districts.
  • Add teeth to compel compliance with reporting requirements.
  • Create an online centralized registry for special districts to report their financials.
  • Establish education and ethics for special district board members and staff.

The session begins Jan. 8.

Miller attends training

Shelby County Circuit Court Clerk Lowry Miller participated in the 2012 Circuit Court Clerks Fall College that took place earlier this month in Lexington. The Administrative Office of the Courts provided the judicial education program for the state’s circuit court clerks. The event included 15 hours of continuing education credit for the circuit clerks.

The circuit court clerks attended sessions on adoptions, forcible detainers, accounts receivable, driver licensing, the juvenile court process, child support enforcement and the court system’s case management system. The circuit court clerks also spent time discussing best practices in their offices.
The circuit court clerks heard from Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. and the other Supreme Court justices and AOC Director Laurie K. Dudgeon at the college. They also had a session with the commissioner of the state Department of Corrections and attended courses about House Bills 463 and 308, which took effect in 2011. HB 463 is the most comprehensive overhaul of Kentucky’s penal code in more than 30 years and HB 308 requires Kentucky to notify the FBI when a court finds an individual mentally incompetent.

Financial aid night for parents of seniors 

Another Parent Academy session has been planned by Shelby County Public Schools: A Financial Aid Night for students and parents at both high schools will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the theater at Collins High School. This workshop is for all seniors and their parents/guardians.
Topics will include how you complete the FAFSA, the federal assistance program; the deadline of the FAFSA form; what grants/loans/scholarships are available; how you can access your money from KEES, which is a scholarship based on grades; and other important paperwork.

A light snack will be provided. Both principals –  John Leeper at Collins and Eddie Oakley at Shelby County –  encourage students and parents to take advantage of this event as preparations are made for college.

Mooneyhan to address Rotary 

Leon Mooneyhan will address the Shelbyville Rotary Club on Tuesday to update the group on progress toward building the City Center for the arts. Mooneyhan has spearheaded the effort to establish the downtown Shelbyville arts, education and convention complex.

Rotary meets at noon at the Centenary United Methodist Church, located at Washington and 5th streets. The meeting is open to the public, but there is a charge for the meal.

Republicans to have party

The Shelby County Republican Party will not hold a regular monthly meeting in November or December, but there will be a party.

The group invites all registered Republicans to bring their families to a Christmas party at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Stratton Center. This party will be a pot-luck dinner, and guests are asked to bring a favorite pot-luck dish. There also will be a gift-exchange game, and anyone who would like to participate should bring a $10 gift.

For more information or to say you will attend, call Chair Jennifer Decker at 502-773-2326.


Last day of tax amnesty

Today is the last day for delinquent taxpayers to take advantage of Kentucky’s tax amnesty program. Department of Revenue’s main Frankfort office and taxpayer centers throughout the state are open until 9 p.m. today and will close after the last person in line has been helped.
Taxpayers must apply for amnesty –  even those who have not filed tax returns. The Department of Revenue will accept applications through Friday, whether in person or postmarked by today, according to a state news release.
If taxpayers do not have all their documentation in order, they can still apply. The taxpayer applies online, sends a check – even a $10 check –  or pays an amount online to be able to participate in amnesty. Department of Revenue officials will then work with those taxpayers to determine the amount of tax owed and a payment schedule through May 30, 2013.
A list of the main office in Frankfort and field office locations is available at http://www.revenue.ky.gov/aboutus/taxpayerservicecenters.htm.


SCHS assessment test sessions for parents

Parents and guardians of students at Shelby County High School are invited to attend an informational session with the administration that is designed to help them understand the 2011-2012 End of Course Assessment results for students.  Each session will focus on specific grade levels.

All sessions will be held in the SCHS Auditorium. This is the schedule:

  • Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for current sophomores and juniors.
  • Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. for current seniors.

Parents and guardians may attend all appropriate sessions.


Bethlehem stamp, postmark event

The U.S. Postal Service has released the Holy Family Forever stamp, and it will be dedicated at an open house Saturday at the Bethlehem Post Office, 3946 Bethlehem Road in Henry County.

Visitors can have their cards stamped with the traditional Bethlehem postmark and receive refreshments and door prizes from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The stamp, created by designer Greg Breeding and artist Nancy Stahl, shows Joseph leading a donkey that carries Mary and the infant Jesus, guided by a star shining in the twilight of a desert sky. It is available nation wide.

If you want the Bethlehem postmark, you should place stamped, addressed envelopes inside a larger envelope and mail them to: LIVING NATIVITY STATION, P.O. Box 9998, Bethlehem, KY 40007-9998. The Bethlehem Post Office has been offering a special cancellation during the holidays since 1947.


Leaf pickup in Shelbyville

The Shelbyville Department of Public Works will offer leaf pickup through Dec. 30 within the city limits. Leaves must be bagged in strong garbage bags and tied with a 50-pound weight capacity. They should be placed on the curb, not blocking the sidewalk or street. Residents must call this department, 633-1094, to get on the list for pick-up.


The Kentucky Press News Service contributed to this report.