Restaurant tax tabled indefinitely

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Mayor pledges to continue support of Park

By Linda Ireland

 A proposed restaurant tax that has set on Hodgenville City Council’s agenda for most of the year was tabled again Monday.

In July and August, the Council asked for more time to study the matter and postponed first reading of the tax for another month.

This time, the tax is tabled indefinitely by unanimous vote. The decision to add a 2 percent tax to prepared food within city limits will be waiting for newly-elected city council members to deal with in 2013.

Councilman Jim Phelps Jr. made the motion, saying that he would like to see the new council “make the decision.”

Five of the six council members are seeking re-election on Nov. 6 – Phelps, Glenda Wathen, Woodie Handley, Bonni Clark and Kenny DeVore. 

Challengers are Wally Sparks, Greg Harry, Rick Ogletree, Alex LaRue and Larry Davis.

City Clerk MaDonna Hornback asked for clarification about the future agenda.

Phelps said the restaurant tax should be added to the agenda after the new council has had a chance to study it. 

An ordinance to establish a tourism and convention commission to oversee the tax receipts already has been approved.

The council has been considering the tax since it was brought up by the LaRue County Park and Recreation Board of Directors in February. The Board said they needed sustainable funding; however, the tax cannot be used for that purpose, according to Ray Gillespie and Bill Abner, members of the Kentucky Hotel and Lodging Association. Gillespie and Abner spoke at an Aug. 28 forum hosted by the Hodgenville Restaurant Association.

After the meeting, Hodgenville Mayor Terry Cruse said the council “made a wise decision by not passing the restaurant tax for the City of Hodgenville.”

“The information presented was very plain,” he said. “A restaurant tax will simply not help our parks and recreation department and to continue on with its passage would only cause problems for everyone – if the tax was to be appropriated as such.

“On the positive side, the City will continue to support the park. One good thing that has come from this is that it has been brought to my attention some much-needed repairs to the park. The City has addressed many of those repairs and will continue to do so in the future as funds allow.”

Cruse said the City has replaced all plumbing fixtures in most of the restrooms, installed a new waterline and is in the process of replacing several damaged doors and installing a new roof in the pool shower area.