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Spending Your Tax Dollars: The 109 Board

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This is the first in a series of examations of how your tax money is spent. Today, the 109 Board

By Lisa King

What is this taxing district’s area/issue of control?

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The 109 Board is the entity that oversees solid-waste management for all Shelby County residents.

 

How was the district created?

Shelby County’s 109 Board was established in 1970 by the Shelby County Fiscal Court. At that time, the county judge-executive was Paul T. Ratcliff, who appointed the first board on April 14, 1970, consisting of David Newton, Lee Nor Mack and Les Bailey. The board is named after the legislation that created it, KRS Chapter 109, dealing with solid waste.

 

What is its taxation rate?

The tax rate is assessed at a rate of 3.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of real property.

 

How much has that rate changed in the past five years?

The current rate has not changed in the past five years. When the 109 Board was established in 1970, the rate was set at 3 cents. Rusty Newton, chair of the 109 Board since 2005, said he does not know when the rate changed to 3.5 cents but that it was before his time on the board.

 

What is the annual operating budget and how much in cash reserves?

The board’s operating budget this year is $894,000. Of that total, $850,000 comes from taxes, and the rest comes from revenue from recycling and tire disposal fees. Whenever any portion of the funds in the budget are not used, they are kept in reserve for future operating expenses, such as landfill upkeep or unexpected issues. The 109 Board currently has $1.1 million in cash reserves.

 

What have been the biggest expenditures in the past 5 years (items and amounts)?

Salaries are normally the biggest expenditure for the board, comprising about 45 percent of the budget annually, for $382,138 ($270,308 for salaries and $111,830 for benefits) out of the total 2012 budget amount of $849,500. This pays the salaries for the following employees: Val Shirley (full-time, interim director of Solid Waste, $17.32 per hour); Tiffany Durham (full-time, recycling specialist, $12.44 per hour); Doug Bentley (full-time, landfill laborer, $24.17 per hour); Marvin Downey (full-time, landfill laborer, $17.01 per hour); Clyde Miller (full-time, operator, $14.48).

Other than salaries, the largest expense in recent years (2011) was the $655,000 purchase of land on which the board is preparing to build a new solid-waste facility. Another significant expense occurred six years ago when $500,000 had to be spent to build a new road from the old entrance of the landfill in Waddy to the new entrance on King’s highway after a deputy was badly injured when his patrol car was hit by a train there. Shelby County no longer operates its own landfill and now transports solid waste to the Benson Valley landfill owned by Allied Waste Services, just inside the Franklin/Shelby County line. Also in 2009 the board spent $595,876 on old landfill maintenance. The district has saved an average of about $100,000 per year during the past five years.

 

How is the taxing district board appointed (including leadership positions)?

The board consists of three members – two representing Shelby County and one representing the city of Shelbyville. The county judge-executive appoints the two Shelby County members and the mayor appoints the city member. The board votes to decide who will be chair, secretary and treasurer. KRS does not specify the length of the term that members may serve, so they may serve for as long as they wish or until the county judge-executive or the mayor wants to appoint someone new. Current members are Rusty Newton (chair), who is also deputy county judge-executive, Tom Rockaway (treasurer) and Kerry Magan (secretary), an engineer. Newton was appointed in 2005. Magan was appointed in October 2012, replacing Don Cubert, who passed away. Rockaway was appointed in February 2007, replacing Doug Butler. There is no specific term to serve.

 

Are board members compensated? If so how much, and how has that changed during the past 10 years?

Board members, except for Newton, who has declined pay, receive $150 per meeting. The meetings are held once a month. Board members may also receive the same rate of compensation for one additional meeting per quarter. This has not changed in the past 10 years.

 

When and where does the board meet? It is open to the public?

The board meets on the second Friday of each month, at 9 a.m. at Stratton Center. All meetings are open to the public.

 

Where are agendas for meetings posted and how much in advance of meetings?

The agendas are posted within 24 hours of the meeting and are available at the Shelby County judge-executive’s office at 419 Washington St. To view them, ask for Deputy Judge-Executive Rusty Newton, as they are located in his office.

 

Who has oversight of the taxing district? Who reviews the budget?

Although the 109 Board’s budget does not have to be approved by the Shelby County Fiscal Court, beginning this fiscal year the fiscal court is obligated to review the budget to make sure it is balanced. Previously fiscal court in Shelby County – by not all counties – collected its budget and simply passed it along to Frankfort. The board then is required to send that budget to Frankfort to be filed with the Department of Local Government. New legislation, which was passed this year, has created a new designation for special taxing districts, calling them “special purpose government entities.” This legislation requires all such entities to report any increase in taxes or fees directly to local government entities that have the ability to appoint members to their boards, such as fiscal courts, but does not give fiscal courts the power to approve, revise or veto any increases. These entities would be required, however, to hold a public hearing on a tax increase before implementing it and to post their budgets in a online database created by the State Auditor’s office. That database is expected to be available in October 2014. The only oversight of the finances of the 109 Board are relative to grants the board may be granted.