Owensboro Closer to Major Tax Increases

City is looking at ways to dig out of a $40 million debt over 4 years

As Owensboro grows in development, the debt grows deeper too. City leaders say the building boom over the last decade has helped create a $40 million hole in the budget.

The city could make a dent with cuts, but some believe the biggest difference comes from your wallet.

“They've got a lot of construction going on they're not even halfway finished with,” says Samuel Dandridge, “and they're still trying to build more.”

Progress downtown comes with a price tag.

While the city lays even more metal, and wraps another prized piece of downtown real estate in chain link, the reality is it's only digging deeper.

“It's eventually going to go downhill anyway,” Christina Brown says, “we're not going up, we're going down.”

Make no mistake, City Manager Bill Parrish says it's an investment. New downtown construction, he says, helped bring Alorica with more than 800 jobs.

But where other cities typically bump taxes a small amount every year, Parrish says Owensboro hasn't in eight years and that's put them behind.

Neil Hensley says, “they should have stopped about three years ago, see what's going on.”

Parrish says he saw this amount of debt coming about eight years ago. Now he’s recommending a tax increase in addition to millions of dollars in cuts to parks, city events, and more.

The tax increase could cost neighbors hundreds of dollars more per year on property, occupational, or insurance tax depending how the City Commission handles it. They will have the final say, and they need a budget by May.

Brown isn’t sure how it’ll go, but she doesn’t like the outlook. “Any way, they're going to screw you.”

Progress has pushed on in Owensboro but the building has boxed them in. More money is the only way out.

“Why build more and spend more when you're already in debt?” says Brown.


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