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School board approves 4% revenue increase
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The Anderson County Board of Education narrowly approved taking the largest revenue increase allowed by law without being subjected to a voter recall last Monday when it voted to tax property owners and additional $500,000 next year.

The board voted 3-2 to increase its revenue from the previous year by 4%, but not before hearing from a resident who called information the district released before the vote “misleading rhetoric.”

Voting for the revenue increase were board members Jason Collins, Scott Brown and Rose Morgan. Voting against were board Chairman James Sargent and Peggy Peach.

The vote will lower the current property tax rate from $6.23 per $1,000 in assessed value to $6.09, while generating nearly $500,000 in additional district funds.

Had the board opted for what’s called a compensating rate — a rate that would generate roughly the same revenue as the previous year — the rate would have plummeted to $5.86 per $1,000 in assessed value while still providing the district with an additional $129,000 due to growth.

Skyrocketing property values are the reason for the lower rates being able to generate more revenue than previous years. During the past 12 months, Anderson County’s overall property value swelled to $1.6 billion, a $100 million increase from 2021, according to documents provided by Property Value Administrator’s office in Lawrenceburg.

Several factors came into play when discussing setting the tax rate. Looming large was the rise in costs due to inflation. Also mentioned were costs that were associated with COVID, including the addition of new staff to meet the specific needs. The board also approved a 3% pay increase for district staff. Also discussed was the proposed elimination of the so-called “bourbon barrel tax” by some lawmakers in Frankfort.

Both the 4% revenue increase and compensating rate would result in lowering the contingency for the district, with the 4% resulting in a 4.81 contingency, or a 2.67 decrease. During the financial report, the claim made was that the salary increase approved was being funded primarily from the contingency.

As part of the financial report, the statement was made that “if the General Assembly acts on the (barrel tax), it could drastically affect our contingency and could affect our SEEK funding”.

During the public comment portion, David Montgomery spoke in opposition to the 4% revenue increase.

“During the past few days, it’s become apparent the school system has been pushing for a revenue increase through our tax bills,” he said.

“The information (released) was manipulative and fabricated to form a rhetoric that you were lowering taxes, which is misleading in the least … if the 4% option is approved, every person whose home was reassessed will have an increased tax bill, plain and simple.”

Regarding the information Montgomery referred to, it was in response to a statement released by Anderson County Schools on Friday, Sept. 9, which said: “The compensating rate (58.6) or the 4% tax rate (60.9), the two options being considered by the board, both result in a reduction, a lower tax rate, for our school tax compared to the 2022 tax rate. The board is not considering increasing the tax rate to 4% over the current 62.30 tax rate.”

While considering the rate set, board chair James Sargent spoke of his constituents, saying that he would not go back on a promise made regarding taxes.

The motion was made by board member Jason Collins to approve the 4% increase and was immediately seconded by Scott Brown. Those voting for the motion included Brown, Collins, and member Rose Morgan, with those against Sargent and board member Peggy Peach. The motion passed by a 3-2 margin.

Other matters discussed included the graduation date for the 2022-23 school year, which was voted to be May 26 at 6:30 PM at the high school football field. The board approved the tourism commission’s bus usage request, and the ACHS HVAC system warranty, a source of added stress for the board, was extended through March.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

Emergency crews battle hay fire
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On Wednesday night, Anderson County Fire Department, EMS, and Sheriff’s Office responded to a call by Mr. Russell Walker of a fire on his farm located at 1388 Jenny Lillard Road in Lawrenceburg.

Upon arriving, crews began extinguishing the flames as approximately 500 round hay bales had gone up in a towering inferno. The bales were being stored in a metal arch barn on the Walker farm.

Fortunately, there were no injuries that occurred while battling the fire. Crews had to transport water from the nearest hydrant, located on Jenny Lillard Road around Nathan Way.

Lawrenceburg Fire Department remained on standby if there were any further emergencies that came out of the initial fire. The fire auxiliary team was there to help the firefighters with water, Gatorade, and snacks to keep the team nourished and hydrated as they worked to extinguish the blaze.

21 total Anderson County firefighters were dispatched, along with 5 fire engines, five tankers, and two chief officer vehicles. 57,550 gallons of water was used to get the fire under control.

On Thursday morning, a call was placed to the National Weather Service out of Louisville in regards to the large amount of smoke created by the fire. They advised that an area located north of Lawrenceburg was going to have the worst air quality, but that the air quality was not harmful to citizens.

Several in the area noted a peculiar smell and haziness upon waking up Thursday. Thanks to the quick actions of the Anderson County emergency personnel, the event was quickly managed and resulted in no further injury or damage.

Start your engines
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“Just to get the local community involved and get them to donate is tremendous,” said Bill Sloan.

Bikers from across Kentucky took part in the Healing Field Memorial Ride, an annual event put on by American Legion Post 34 and the Sentinels Veterans Club. It is a memorial motorcycle ride that raises money for the maintenance of the Healing Field and the support of Veterans Projects. The cost of the event was $15 per rider and $5 per extra rider. Among the leaders of the event were Joel “Roadblock” Corbin, Bill Sloan, Josh Turner, Chris “Doc” Disponett, and Kelly Shehan.

Registration for the event began at 10 in the morning, and the ride began at noon. A patriotic spirit surrounded the event with the memorial’s flags flying in the background as the riders started their engines and put up their kickstands. This year’s ride drew 67 riders, a bit of a drop from last year’s 112 riders, but Sloan explained that there were a lot of veterans and service events going on this past weekend.

The riders got back to the American Legion Post around 3 in the afternoon and were invited to stay for a cookout and auction. There was a live auction and a silent auction selling items such as bourbon in collector bottles, a wooden porch swing, cigars, and a wooden POW/MIA flag among other things. Various merchandise was also sold for the benefit, including artwork depicting men and women in the service.

All proceeds from the event went to the maintenance of the memorial and to the support of Veterans Projects.

The “Healing Field” of Lawrenceburg is a tribute to Kentucky’s service men and women who have given their lives in the War on Terror since the “War on Terror” Declaration was signed by President Bush, and the Healing Field Memorial Ride that was held on Saturday helped to continue the legacy of this memorial.

Despite the dip from last year, the event still received support from the local community, and 67 riders came out to enjoy the ride, door prizes, 50/50 drawing, free T-shirts, cookout, live and silent auction, and various merchandise as well as to show their support.

The Healing Field Memorial of Lawrenceburg is actually the only permanent Healing Field in the nation, and in 2006, the Department of Kentucky American Legion Auxiliary chose Lawrenceburg as the location. There are currently 120 flag poles, each representing one fallen Kentucky hero. There is also a black marble marker beside each flag with the hero’s rank, name, branch of service, and home of record engraved on it.

The Field is reliant on donations of time and money by volunteers, and this year’s memorial ride drew 67 local riders to raise money to help continue the legacy of this special place.

First Christian celebrates 175 years
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A service commemorating the 175th anniversary of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will be held on October 23 of this year at 10:45 in the morning. The service will be open to the public, and everyone will be welcome.

One hundred and seventy-five years ago on October 18, 1847, the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Lawrenceburg was organized for the first time. A lot of land was conveyed to the church, and a frame building was erected thus beginning this church’s long life.

The original frame building only operated as the church until June 7, 1869 when the lot was sold, and since then the church has been relocated and rebuilt several times with a total of 3 different locations and 4 different buildings. The current church building, though not the original, is still 101 years old, and despite the different locations over the years, the church has remained the First Christian Church of Lawrenceburg.

With the church being as old as it is, both the church building itself and some of its longer standing traditions have had their roots in Anderson County for a long time. The current building located at 300 South Main Street was built in 1920-21 and provided the first gymnasium to the community before the area schools had gyms of their own. The first Christmas Eve Candlelight service was held at the church in 1935 and has been an annual tradition held every year since for a total of 86 years.

When asked how they felt the church had changed over the years in light of its long history, Mary Beth Shouse, an elder at the church, explained that the church had become more mission focused over the years. Jim Wheeler, Senior Pastor of the church, explained that there’s certain changes that every church goes through: “I mean, it’s like any church. There are all kinds of changes that go on through the years. You have up and down kinds of years since 1847, so those are the kinds of things that any church goes through.”

In discussing what the church meant to him, Pastor Wheeler said that he felt like it was less about what the church meant to him and more about what it meant to the community. He also explained that several years ago before some of the newer buildings were added to the church, they had to decide whether to remain a downtown church or to relocate out of downtown. He said that, ultimately, they chose to remain a downtown church so that they could use their buildings for the community. In a similar vein, they now host several community groups at their church as well as host and support numerous outreaches.

When asked about the impact of the church on the community, Cameron Allen, a member of the church, went on to explain the various outreaches of the church including the Christmas Angels program, backpack buddies, blessing boxes, home repair, prayer shawl ministry, metal collection for the Ukraine, mission trips, disaster relief, and wacky Wednesdays. Their children and youth have also gotten involved in this work by doing service projects for shut-ins, shelter animals, homeless people, and the elderly.

Going back to the founding of the church, there is actually not much information to be found about the original pastors of the church. The pastors who served early on in the history of the church were Hastings, Haley, Lloyd, South, Polk, Stafford, Lampkin, H.N. Reubelt, W.F. Grimm, Walter Gibbs, and E.B. Bourland. We do know that H.N Reubelt began serving the ministry in 1900 and resigned in 1904 due to failing health, and we have black and white photographs of some of these men, but, ultimately, these founding fathers of Lawrenceburg’s First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) may have to remain in the obscurity of history.

Despite this, the church they founded has managed to last nearly 2 centuries and continues to operate today. It was formed in Anderson County only 20 years after Anderson County was established making it a long-lasting part of Anderson County’s history.