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Attorneys provide overview of Kentucky's annexation laws

Lawmakers hold first meeting of annexation task force

The Task Force on Local Government Annexation began its work last week of evaluating the effects of expanding city boundaries, starting with an overview of current statutes and case law regarding the issue. The ten-member committee was created following the General Assembly’s passage of SB 141 earlier this year. The legislation also placed a temporary, one-year pause on city annexation, with some exceptions in place for economic development and property owner requests.

The task force is co-chaired by Sen. Robby Mills and Rep. Jonathan Dixon, both of Henderson County. Fittingly, the presenters giving the overview of annexation in Kentucky were Henderson City Attorney Dawn Kelsey and Henderson County Attorney Steve Gold. 

“There are no predetermined outcomes when it comes to this task force,” said Dixon, who described the main goal of the special committee as bringing city and county leaders together. “[We want] an unbiased approach to annexation so that cities and counties can work together for the progress of our people in our state.” 

Kelsey and Gold discussed the annexation process for consensual and non-consensual annexations, corridor annexations and the effects of annexation on local tax revenue. In situations where both the county and city levy an occupational license fee or an insurance premium tax, county rates may be offset by the city rate within corporate limits. (Occupational license fee crediting is generally required for counties that instituted the fee after reaching 30,000 population.)

Except as outlined in the temporary measures of SB 141, county fiscal courts generally have little statutory voice in the annexation process unless they own affected property. In the event of a referendum, fiscal courts do not have the right to vote on the proposed annexation.

“Counties don’t have an automatic statutory right to challenge, unless they own some of the property in the annexation,” Kelsey said.

Rep. Dixon encouraged stakeholders to share their annexation experiences with task force members.

Video of the complete meeting is available to watch here. The next task force meeting is scheduled for Friday, August 25. (July meeting canceled.)


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