special taxing districts


Calloway County Judge Executive Larry Elkins said if elected to state representative he would dedicate time to reforming special taxing districts.


State Auditor Adam Edelen is hoping lawmakers can reach an agreement next week on a proposal to better regulate more than 1,200 special taxing districts across Kentucky, what Edelen calls “ghost government.” Special taxing districts include local airport boards, water districts, and community action agencies. The bill has passed the House and Senate, but the Senate’s version would give oversight of the taxing districts to county governments, something Edelen opposes.


Legislation intended to increase oversight of Kentucky’s special taxing districts has cleared a Senate committee, but with a change that State Auditor Adam Edelen called unacceptable.


The Kentucky Senate is preparing to act on a bill reforming the hundreds of special taxing districts in the state.

Many local library boards, sewer districts and fire districts are considered special taxing districts, with the power to levy taxes, but without direct oversight from local government. A recent investigation from the state auditor's office found many of the districts lacked proper oversight and documentation.

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A bill reforming how the state's special districts are categorized and making them more transparent easily passed the state House this morning, 96-1.

State Rep. Lynn Belcher, a Republican from Crittenden County, was the lone "no" vote.

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The Kentucky House is voting today on legislation that would strengthen oversight of the state's more than 1,200 local taxing districts. The vote was postponed yesterday.  The House Committee on Local Government approved the legislation Wednesday. The measure sets up a system for auditing the taxing districts, which spend some $2.7 billion a year to operate rural fire departments, airports, sanitation districts and even libraries. It would also create an online database where taxpayers could review financial reports for each taxing district.

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The No. 1 priority for the Kentucky House in 2013 is set: Tackling recommendations from a recent report that found that special tax districts have big budgets and little oversight.

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Taken together, Kentucky's special taxing districts spend more money than the state spends on Medicaid and infrastructure -- and nearly half of those districts are not following rules on filing budgets or submitting audits, said a report from State Auditor Adam Edelen released Wednesday.