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January school board meeting: taxes, homecoming and Millay to retire

Chad Hobbs:

Messenger Staff

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 The Meade County School Board held a regular scheduled monthly meeting on Jan. 14. It was a meeting that had more members of the community in attendance than normal, as the school district has been at the center of several hot button topics around the county.

 A report was given on construction updates around the district. The addition at Payneville has progressed to the point that they are getting ready to start building the walls. Superintendent John Millay spoke about how the additions, including a full gym, will provide the same equity for the students and their experience equal to that of all other schools in Meade County.

 The track and football field project has been approved by the state, and the bond sale will begin on Jan. 28, allowing work to begin. The project will expand the track to eight lanes, make it handicap accessible and long-standing drainage issues will be remedied. The current goal is for the track and field to be done by Aug. 1.

 School board meetings and Fiscal Court regular meetings take place on the same night, thirty minutes apart. The board and community members discussed changing the meeting so people are able to attend both meetings without conflict. It was decided, starting in February, school board meetings will now be held on the second Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m.

 Guy Garcia, a concerned citizen, brought up the fact that he attended the first part of the fiscal court meeting before coming over to this meeting. He said there are twelve taxing bodies in Meade County, plus three cities, and it would be nice to have these meetings of taxing bodies deconflicted so the community can attend both. He went on to say, “There is an awful lot of rumor, innuendo…who exempted Nucor from their property taxes? I always thought you guys levied the property taxes pertaining to the school. Did you all exempt it?”

 Millay said the work force cabinet for the state is always recruiting large industry and jobs. He then proceeded to read KRS 103.285 which he says is the tool the state used in this case. The KRS he recited states that land owned by a city or county and leased to an industrial concern shall be tax exempt as all other public property used for public purposes. He said the loss to the schools is about $40,000 due to the loss of land in the current tax base to Nucor, and the $75,000 payment in lieu of taxes would more than cover the loss. Board member Allison Allen stated documents she pulled from the courthouse shows that just the land Nucor bought from Monument takes $72,725 out of the school tax, not counting the other properties that were removed.  

 After over 20 minutes of Millay talking in circles, as one citizen described his explanation, incoherently bouncing from point to point, often never staying on topic long enough to really complete a full thought but not stopping long enough to end the never ending run on sentence, Garcia cut back in. He stated, “I’m not anti Nucor. I don’t like the way information flowed because there are a lot of people out there who are very antsy about what is going on. Did we lose any money on this deal?”

 Millay said no. Allen quipped back, “Well that’s an opinion,” to which Millay responded, “No, it’s a fact, basically.”

 He went on to explain the promise of possible future gains that may come as a result of businesses following Nucor as he recited the parable of the golden goose to the room.

 Allen went on to say, “I just feel money in the hand is better than whatever they are promising you down the road. I don’t want to bet on a promise.”

 As other people questioned accepting the proposal, Millay said he never had the opportunity to negotiate. He met with members of the fiscal court