Times Journal

Posted October 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Many taxing districts raised their taxes this year, led in percentage by the Russell County Extension Office and Russell County Library with an 11.8 percent increase each in tax revenue over last year, and while the Russell County School District had a four percent increase, owning 50 percent of taxes generated will bring it $175,355.02, which only partially offset recent year’s cuts in funding from state and federal aid.

Property tax bills are prepared and will begin appearing in mailboxes as early as October 1, said Sheriff Lee Smith.

This year there are a couple of changes, the first being that tax bills are coming a month early, and the other being that the form of the bill will be in a postcard rather than in a letter as in previous years.

According to the sheriff’s office there are 14,607 bills being sent out compared to 14,467 last year.

Along with the changes to when the bills are being sent, there’s a change in the discount and penalty dates.

Taxpayers can begin paying taxes beginning October 1, and if taxes are paid in the month of October you will receive a two percent discount in the total tax bill, in the months of November and December taxpayers will pay the full amount, and beginning in January penalties will be assessed.

Tax bills paid in January will have a five percent penalty assessed and beginning February 1, 2014 there will be a 21 percent penalty assessed.

Smith said after April 15 the tax bills are sent to the county clerk where additional fees and penalties will be assessed.

Smith says to be aware that sometimes a mortgage company or bank may receive your tax bill and may take care of the bill but the property owner is still responsible that they get paid, and that if you want to take advantage of the discount to make sure your bank or mortgage company has paid it in the month of October.

“We do not set the tax rates,” said Smith, clarifying his office’s responsibility is to collect the taxes and then distribute them to the individual taxing districts. “The individual districts do that.”

“The PVA does the assessment,” added Russell County Property Valuation Administrator Tim Popplewell. “The individual jurisdictions, taxing boards, set their own rates based on what the overall assessments is and what their budgetary needs are.”

“Those rates are submitted to the county clerk. The county clerk sends them to revenue for approval. Then when we get certified and everything is approved that’s when the sheriff sends the tax bills out and begins collecting taxes.”

If a receipt is desired it will be necessary to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with your tax payment.

While many government agencies are involved: sheriff’s office, PVA, county clerk, even the county attorney, it’s the individual taxing districts that set the rates they need. While they are then recognized by the fiscal court the taxing rates are not voted upon by the fiscal court.

Popplewell said last year the cumulative rate of all taxing districts was 92.7 and that for this year the cumulative rate is 95.41. Effectively this means of each $100,000 in assessed property value you will pay $954.10 compared to last year’s $927.00, an increase of $27.10 or just a little over 2.9 percent increase in taxes overall.

The total amount of property taxes for 2013 was calculated to be $9,074,967.60, compared to 2012 total generation of revenue calculated at $8,796,987.82, which is an increase of $278,128.78, or an overall increase in expected tax revenue of 3.16 percent.

A total tax breaks down into value of real estate and residential lots of $521,449,790; farm, $120,556.157; commercial and industrial, $150,386,781; oil and mineral rights, $389,770.

Overall there are 16,279 (compared to 16,151 in 2012) registered parcel accounts (properties) in Russell County with the number being closer to 20,000 if abutting properties that are deeded separately to an individual owner are taken into accounts, according to Popplewell.


State police arrested two men Friday night, September 20, after they allegedly delivered 20 pounds of marijuana to a residence in Russell Springs.

Rafael Medrano, 28, and Abel Vargas, 23, both of Russell Springs, were each charged with trafficking in marijuana over five pounds.

They were taken into custody by State Trooper Dennis Allen and lodged in Russell County Detention Center just after 10 p.m. Friday night.

The Russell County Sheriff’s Department, the Casey County Sheriff’s Department, Appalachia Hidta Drug Task Force Columbia and Kentucky State Police K-9 Section assisted the Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations West Branch in the investigation, which continues.

To anonymously report any type of suspected illegal drug activity, call the KSP toll-free drug tip hotline at 1-800-DOPETIP. The hotline is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


A Russell County girl was injured Monday afternoon, September 23, when she fell 50 feet from the top of a cliff into some brush on the Lake Cumberland shoreline.

The incident happened in the Rosin Ridge community, about four miles east of Jamestown at 2:50 p.m., according to Deputy Sheriff Nick Bertram.

He said Erica Shearer, 12, was playing with friends when she accidentally fell from the cliff.

Shearer was conscious when members of the Jamestown Fire Department and Russell County EMS reached her after making their way over the cliff using ropes.

She was transported by a Fish and Wildlife officer and EMS personnel via a boat to the Jamestown Marina and then airlifted by emergency helicopter to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for treatment of head and other injuries.


Former long-time school board chairman and businessman Clifford Wilson passed away on Friday, September 20 at Fair Oaks Nursing Home in Jamestown following a lengthy illness.

Wilson, 79, represented the fourth school board district on the Russell County Board of Education for 25 years before resigning in October 2012, citing health reasons.

In his resignation letter to the school board last year, Wilson spoke of the honor and privilege of being able to serve District 4, pride in his accomplishments and advancements in the schools over the years, and the acknowledgement of challenges the board faced as well as his confidence in them to be able to handle future challenges.

He also owned Wilson’s Fur and Ginseng in the Ono Community for many years and was a retired educator and former principal of the Russell County Vocational School. He was a member of Square Oak Separate Baptist Church.