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Florence to Maintain Tax Rates; Leaders Share Concern About "Jug Handle"

Florence city council expects to keep its property tax rate at $0.182 for every $100 of value.

That is the same rate for the past ten years.

The city finance director, Linda Chapman, suggested that property values in the city would warrant a tax rate of $0.187 per $100 in value, but the city will likely opt for the slightly lower rate.

Council will also lower the tax rate on tangible property to $0.311 per $100 in value, down from $0.316 the previous year.

To address the pension costs faced by the city, city council could set a rate of $0.099 per $100 on the hazardous employees' retirement service costs. The tax would generate $2,958,491 to address pension costs. Instead, city council will likely maintain the $0.064 rate, as recommended by Chapman.

"We are able to take the lower rate because of the strong economy we've had," said Mayor Diane Whalen. "Our department heads have been able to purchase what's needed not what is nice."

There will be a public hearing on Friday, August 24, at 4:30 p.m. to hear what people think of the rates.

Other notes:

Greg Rehkamp was promoted from lieutenant to captain at the Florence Police Department, and took the oath of office in front of family and friends. 

Police Chief Tom Grau said Rehkamp has been with Florence for 22 years and is an original member of its SWAT team.

Grau said that when Rehkamp was a sergeant, he created a drug unit, and is in charge of the K9 unit and honor guard.

Chief Grau also said that the department is pursuing a federal grant valued at $10,000 that would allow the purchase of 64 new rain jackets for officers, and add two more officers to the honor guard.

Fire Chief Kelly Aylor told council about a new computerized program being used that monitors air flow to firefighters. It also sends a message to firefighters to vacate a building immediately, when necessary.

Mayor Whalen also addressed the new Kentucky Transportation Cabinet project that will create a so-called "jug handle" traffic configuration at U.S. 42 and Weaver and Hopeful Church roads. The mayor said that she understands that people are anxious about the project.

"We share your concerns," she said. "We drive it every day, too. But we have to give it a chance and hopefully we will see some relief."

Whalen announced that there will be a Labor Day Carnival at Florence Mall from August 30 through September 9.  The carnival will be put on by the same people who put on the Kentucky State Fair, so there is positive recommendation for the event. It will be held in the vicinity of the water tower.

She also announced that the city will once again support the ovarian cancer project by putting up teal colored ribbons all over the city on September 1. September is Ovarian Cancer Month.

Poochfest, an annual event for dogs, will be September 8, at 10 a.m. at the senior center on US 42.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor