Letters to the editor
“No place to shop”
Editor, The Sun:
I am a long-time older resident of Versailles.
I just can’t believe that we now have no place to shop. We just lost our Kmart, which wasn’t very good, but it was a department store.
If it wasn’t for our dollar stores and Kroger, we would not have anywhere (to shop).
But we now have a brewery. That’s just what all of us old people want and need, some place to drink. But we have to drive to Lexington or Frankfort to shop.
When you get older, you don’t always want to drive farther or maybe are not physically able to drive long distances to shop.
And you also do not feel like walking (around in) a 33,000-square-foot store. We sure can go to town to get a drink.
We are getting a hotel and a U-Haul, which is good, but please, get us some place to shop.
‘Thoughtful decision’ by P & Z
Editor, The Sun:
Last Thursday the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission made a wise and thoughtful decision to delay a vote on a proposed residential development for Carpenter Pike. While the development is permitted by an obscure ordinance that allows 20 percent of many farms to be developed if the remaining 80 percent remains agriculture, Planning Commission Director Pattie Wilson pointed out that the county has not approved such a development in ten years.
I understand that this proposal is a lovely plan for 13 new homes on one-to-two acre lots and that the lots will likely not stay vacant and ugly for a long term - a problem with the last Carpenter Pike development. I also understand clearly that a plan that preserves 80 percent of the farmland is not totally horrible and that farmers (who sometimes have few options) need the option of divesting 20 percent of their farm for added income.
But, as pointed out by members of the Planning Commission, this development could set a new precedent leading to unwanted developments in the county. The Commission is wise to consider this decision more broadly then just a local Carpenter Pike issue and should continue to discourage small-plot-size development in rural areas.
Dr. Martin Traugott
No tax hike
Editor, The Sun:
Having tried to stuff a massive tax increase down the throats of taxpayers with minimal input from them, now the Woodford County Board of Education is seeking to negate the will of the people by challenging our tax recall petition.
Isn’t it a shame when democracy rears its head and makes things inconvenient for bureaucrats?
Given the near-impossible task of getting 1,400 signatures of registered voters in a two-week period, involved citizens came forward and signed a petition to have the opportunity to vote on the proposed huge tax increase that would take thousands of dollars out of their pockets.
Our success in wanting a voice in our financial affairs is apparently too much for the board of education to handle. With a slap in the fact to the Woodford County Clerk who certified the petition, the Board of Education has now hired an attorney to appeal the certification. Using what, legal technicalities?
In case the board of education is having trouble understanding our message, let’s make it clear: Huge tax increases aren’t popular, here or anywhere else. Many taxpayers are on fixed incomes, most don’t have children who’d be attending the new high school, and few working people are getting 5.5 percent annual raises from their jobs. The least we can do is have the opportunity to vote on this.
It’s nice that the board of education can afford an attorney to help deny the will of the people, and can further afford $50,000 to hold a special election. Perhaps our taxes are already too high?
Hold this vote as part of the November election, when voters are fully engaged - if the board can handle that level of transparency.
When you hear a bureaucrat or politician say, ‘It’s about the kids,” hold onto your wallet, because you’re about to be sold a bill of goods.
Unfortunately for the Board of Education, this massive tax increase is also about us taxpayers.
Editor’s note: The school tax passed by the Board of Education raises property taxes by 5.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
School Board’s actions aren’t transparent
Editor, The Sun:
As much as the school board wants us to believe they are being completely transparent concerning their approving a 5.5 (cent) … facilities tax (increase) to pay for a new high school, in my opinion, their actions throughout this issue fall short and lean more towards deception.
Yes, they stated it “was best for the students and the future of Woodford County,” “It’s our responsibility as elected school board members to continue the fight for that,” and, “Looking at the petition, appealing it – perhaps successfully – will further us down the road to get that goal.” I doubt if even one citizen of Woodford County doesn’t want what is best for the students or the future of Woodford County; so why would the school board want to (suggest) that kind of perception exists here?
The school board voted (months ago) to pay to have a special election … on May 15 if the tax recall petition was successful. Why would the school board be willing to spend an additional $50,000 for a special election just seven days before the regular primary election cycle on May 22? Asked another way, “Why do they not want it on the ballot?” In my opinion, spending the additional $50,000 of our already-collected tax dollars for a special election isn’t very fiscally prudent when a regular election cycle is only seven days away.
The real issue here is all about the timing. When would we have the least amount of voters turning out to vote for or against a 5.5 cent (per $100 dollars) tax increase? The school board’s action to appeal the tax recall petition insures that we will not be able to vote on the tax increase during our regular primary election on May 22. The school board’s action to appeal also has an element of unintended blowback, in that it is a slap in the face of the county clerk’s office by questioning their ability in carrying out their duties. The school board’s action to appeal the tax recall petition if unsuccessful guarantees we will only be able to vote for or against a 5.5 cent tax increase … when the least amount of voters would turn out to vote, or if the appeal is successful, insures we do not get to vote for or against at all.