May 8th, 2020 (Cox’s Creek, KY) by Don Thrasher
Nelson County School District has the 5th highest property taxes of the 120 counties in Kentucky. According to the KY State Board of Education the district as of Dec 2019 is in debt of $4,663,595.39 for construction bonds. But without the ability for the public to be able to voice regular public opposition due to the Covid-19 virus, the board voted to purchase a 92.99 acre tract of land located behind Nelson County High School.
The board authorized Superintendent Wes Bradley to negotiate the $1.4 million purchase of the property from Kenmore Farm Family LLC, a limited liability corporation formed by members of the Keene family and managed by Howard Keene.
The district in recent years has had a trend of decreasing student population. Which means less money for the district from state and federal sources. But yet it seemingly wants to expand and spend $1.4 million even though it is currently over $4 million in debt from past construction bonds.
Last year State Rep. Stan Lee and State Senator Ralph Alvarado introduced legislation to allow citizens to repeal tax increases, even ones that are under the current 4% increase threshold. The bill also allowed counties like Nelson to easily get signatures for such a tax increase repeal petition via electronic signatures online. However, the Republican House leadership including Chad McCoy fought this bill and diluted it to remove the under 4% increase thresh hold. Amazingly, McCoy even voted to allow the 2 large Metro Counties (Jefferson & Fayette) to have electronic signatures but not Nelson County.
The ability of a school district to approve a purchase of $1.4 million in property during a period where normal public participation at a public meeting was not possible is reprehensible. The people of Nelson County should have the right to have the ability to stop the constant property tax raises this district keeps burdening them with.
The political elite in Frankfort, including McCoy don’t want the people to have the ability to recall school tax increases easily, and that is why high tax districts like Nelson School District keep getting away with the constant raises.
It is time true conservatives run for the Nelson County School Board. We need board members that won’t approve such a purchase in the dark, in the middle of a shut down.
We need the State Legislature to pass Rep. Stan Lee and Sen. Alvarado’s original bill and give rural counties like Nelson the ability to have electronic signatures on property tax recall petitions.
Nelson Countians let us not continue to sit idle and simply complain. Run for School Board, ask Chad McCoy why he helped dilute the bill to allow property tax recall petitions below 4% and exclude Nelson County from electronic signatures on those petitions.
(Disclaimer: Don Thrasher is running for the Republican Primary against Chad McCoy for Dist. 50 (Nelson County) State Rep. this article contained opinion of the candidate).