Nicholasville City Commission approves amendments for Fiscal Year 23-24 budget

Published 3:38 pm Monday, June 19, 2023

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The Nicholasville City Commission approved ordinances amending the city’s budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024 during its June 12 meeting.

The 23-24 fiscal year budget, as well as ordinances amending its details, has had its first readings heard and approved by the Commission, but it may still be amended before it is finalized with its second reading at the next city commission meeting.

Tax rate changes

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The changes include proposed rate increases for each city utility service, a cost of living wage adjustment for city employees, and increased contributions to parks and recreation, downtown revitalization and road upkeep.

According to Mayor Alex Carter, the proposed and approved rates will increase the average residential water customer’s monthly bill by $1.23 per month (per every 4,000 gallons used); the average residential sewer bill will increase by $3.42 per month (per every 4,000 gallons used); and the average residential electric bill will increase by $2.00 per month (per each 1,100 kWh used).

The reasons for these rate increases, as cited by Mayor Carter, are increased costs of running utility services, including increased personnel costs, increased materials costs including fuel, treatment chemicals, pipe and electric materials and the costs for the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) expansion project.

Some rates, however, are not moving at all.

The tax rates for the Nicholasville General Government including property taxes, occupations taxes, and insurance premiums will remain the same. Carter added that property tax rates have been the same since 2010.

“Nicholasville’s economic growth continues to prosper with a strong balance sheet in a good financial position without raising taxes. Our bond rating is the highest for a municipal government with careful management that has kept our borrowing cost low for needed capital projects. Nicholasville’s employment and labor market remain strong with businesses looking to expand their labor force. Our business community continues to thrive with new businesses opening weekly. The City of Nicholasville is on firm financial footing with a successful growth strategy,” said Carter of the city’s current economic situation.

Increased allocations in the FY 23-24 budget

“Our policy in the upcoming fiscal budget is to be proactive in our public safety requirements and infrastructure needs while operating an efficient city government,” Carter said.

The city commission approved an ordinance increasing the city employee’s wages by 6.5 percent.

“That’s for the cost of living. That’s not really considered a raise. It’s just keeping up with the cost of your basket of goods,” Carter said.“The city commission continues to prioritize our parks and recreation program with park improvements and newly constructed splash pads and playground equipment.”

In the FY 2024 budget, the City Commission has increased parks and recreation funding by $137,000 which brings the city’s contribution to parks and recreation to $519,000

Carter said that the city has created and funded the “Small Business Property Incentive Grant Program” to “encourage a vibrant downtown Nicholasville and to fully support our business community.” The grant will have an estimated $984,000 impact on the revitalization of downtown properties.

Lastly, the city has increased funding for street paving and public works projects.

The state legislature provides funding to counties and cities to repair their roads, but Carter said it is “never enough to keep our roads in adequate condition. This is always supplemented by the (city’s) general fund budget.”

In other news:

The commission approved a resolution that approves the updated regional hazard mitigation plan as the official county hazard mitigation plan of Jessamine County and Nicholasville.

According to the city’s Emergency Management Agency Director, Johnny N. Adams, not much has changed in terms of environmental threats for Jessamine County.

“We still have the same types of natural disasters. The highlighted ones for our area are severe storms, flooding, and winter storms. We also see earthquakes and tornadoes. This just allows the community to pre-plan for that and apply for grant funding to assist in mitigation projects,” he said.