Florence Adds Police Officer, Firefighters; Asks State to Adjust Road Funding Formula
The Florence city council adopted a resolution encouraging the General Assembly to modernize the way money collected via the state gas tax is distributed.
Currently, one-fifth is divided equally to all counties, one-fifth is divided by rural population, one-fifth is divided by rural road miles, and two-fifths are divided by rural land area. Forty-eight and two tenths of Kentucky's motor fuel tax is distributed through three revenue sharing formulas, which are rural secondary aid, county road aid and municipal road aid.
The formula of fifths was devised and implemented originally in 1948.
State Representative Sal Santoro (R-Florence) has introduced a bill for the last few years trying to change the formula since the area has changed so much since 1948.
Modernization also includes updating the state's motor fuels tax, which has not changed since 2015. Twenty-three other states have increased their motor fuels since 2015, including the District of Columbia.
Kentucky has not.
The Kentucky League of Cities board of directors considers transportation funding to be the number one legislative priority for the 2021 session in Frankfort.
Evidence to support the legislation includes city spending on streets and bridges having gone up 35 percent from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2019 while state and federal funding for roads dropped almost 24 percent.
KLC has contended that Kentucky's gas tax collection continues to drop, and the state's 73-year old funding formula doesn't accurately make up for the way most Kentucky residents live and travel in this century.
The organization further contends that the condition of city roads and bridges directly impacts the ability of communities to grow and attract new businesses.
Councilman Josh Walton asked whether the resolution could be worded in a way that does not suggest an increase in the gas tax but other members did not see a problem with the wording.
Walton voted against the resolution while the rest of council approved it.
In other business, Police Chief Tom Grau asked council to declare a Ford Interceptor to be listed as surplus property so that it could be donated to the police department at Northern Kentucky University, which had inquired about it. The university's department is a vehicle short, Grau said.
The action was approved.
The fire department added a new firefighter/paramedic in Cristian Espinoza and a new firefighter/EMT in Zach King.
The police department added Antonio McKinney as an officer.
Council members praised the Public Works department for their excellence in clearing roads.
-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor