Property tax rate, city Wi-Fi discussed at special called city council meeting

Council members Pat George and Morgan Rousseau sit and review a city-wide Wi-Fi initiative that provides the community internet access at various points throughout the city through Wi-Fi hotspots. The council took no action Monday night, but are set to discuss the matter at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 5 p.m.

Princeton City Council called a special meeting Monday, Aug. 30, to discuss property tax rates, two agreements, a parking ordinance, and internet infrastructure.

“My recommendation is that we take the 4% as we have historically done, it is a significant difference in revenue, about the tune of $16,000,” said Mayor Dakota Young, who is in favor of establishing a 4% property tax rate.

Young said the tax rate was unchanged last year, partly because of COVID-19 pandemic conditions. He said in years prior, the 4% increase was consistently adopted by city councils.

The 4% property tax would result in a $6 increase for every $100,000 in property valuation, which translates to an increase of $6 in property taxes on a $100,000 house, Young said.

The council will host a public hearing on Monday, Sept. 20, at 4:50 p.m. to introduce and discuss the property tax rate.

The council also approved to enter into a Municipal Road Aid Cooperative Program Agreement with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

“By passing this agreement, we participate in the state’s cooperative program wherein a portion of our MRA proceeds, approximately 3%, goes into an emergency fund,” Young said.

In another matter, the city council approved the first reading of an ordinance which eliminates the temporary designated curbside pick-up parking spaces on Main Street, intended for Black Patch Grille and Gather on Main uses. The lifts on restrictions for restaurant dining prompted the ordinance.

The council also authorized an agreement with Sourcewell, pending City Attorney Todd Wetzel’s review.

“Sourcewell does all the bidding and legal legwork for the purchase of very large and complex pieces of equipment, such as fire trucks,” Young said.

Wetzel informed the council he must review and verify that Sourcewell is defined as a local public agency that qualifies under state statute to conduct such business.

Young also informed the council the specifications for the new fire truck have been finalized, constituting the agreement to use Sourcewell’s service.

He said the cost estimate came in at $100,000 less than the original budget for the fire truck and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for the fire department.

“The other reason that we are trying to move forward relatively quickly with this truck is there is a very high likelihood that sometime next month the cost of fire trucks of this caliber can rise anywhere between 6% to 10%,” Young said.

Wi-Fi

The council discussed — at length — a possible forthcoming Wi-Fi hotspot initiative that provides various areas of Princeton internet access.

T-Mobile would be the acting internet provider. The mobile Wi-Fi hotspots would be placed throughout the city, as part of T-Mobile’s Project 10Million.

Although the council agreed it is a long-term investment that requires a robust discussion and additional review, they agree the project would bring a valuable asset to residents.

Young said the equipment can be licensed for five years. Currently, 12 devices at $30 per month, per device is an option being discussed.

He said the devices would primarily be for community members in public spaces such as parks and parking lots and customers at local businesses might be able to tap into the free Wi-Fi.

City personnel would have authority to monitor and regulate data and usage.

The council agreed to reserve further discussion for the next city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 7 at 5 p.m.