Senate President Robert Stivers discusses potential legislation that would permit Corbin to annex into Laurel County
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, came to Corbin last week to bring the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce up to speed on what the republicans are attempting to do now that the party controls the governor’s mansion, the state senate and house of representatives.
Stivers told the chamber members that statewide and regional issues have and are on the agenda including passage of right to work, along with items of local interest, such as passing the legislation that would make it possible for Corbin to annex into Laurel County.
While there is no law preventing it, a court ruling currently prevents cities from annexing into a county where they weren’t originally chartered.
Stivers said the language in the legislation he is proposing would be a win-win situation for both the city and the county.
The city would have to take the proposed annexation to the county government, in Corbin’s case the Laurel County Fiscal Court.
“If the city wanted to annex one acre, the fiscal court would have to approve that. If the city wanted to do a second annexation, it would have to go back to the fiscal court,” Stivers explained.
The annexation would take place along the roadways and any property owners would have to petition the city to be annexed.
“Any resident that didn’t want to be annexed in could decide not to,” Stivers said.
Corbin city officials have said on numerous occasions that they would not attempt forced annexation.
In 2005-06, the city annexed along Fifth Street Road to U.S. 25W. Since then, the Corbin Primary School property, the Circle K and Hometown Bank have been annexed at the respective property owner’s request. However, the remaining property is not part of the city as none of the owners have requested to be annexed.
Under the proposed legislation, the existing tax revenue generated in the affected area would serve as a baseline for the county. The city and county would then divide anything over and above that baseline based on the agreement the two entities reach.
Chamber Director Bruce Carpenter told the members that there is a potential $60 million commercial investment slated for the area provided the property is annexed into Corbin.
“The biggest beneficiary would be the county because their property taxes automatically go up,” Stivers said.
Stivers said while the right to work legislation was opposed by unions, it had the support of local governments along the Kentucky/Tennessee boarder because similar legislation had passed in the Tennessee legislature several years ago.
“The fact is that it would create jobs,” Stivers said explaining that the question of right to work legislation is one of the first asked by businesses looking to locate or expand.
“If you don’t believe me, just ask Bruce (Carpenter),” Stivers said.
“We have missed out on many occasions to Ohio, Tennessee and lately Indiana,” Stivers said.
Stivers applauded those who opposed the legislation because of the way they voiced their opposition.
Stivers noted that in addition to calls to the Capitol switchboard, approximately 2,500 union protestors came to the Capitol rotunda.
“They did what they were entitled to do and did it in an appropriate way,” Stivers said of the protestors noting they were polite and allowed legislators to speak with them.
Stivers said with the passage of the right to work legislation made Kentucky the 27th state to do so. The other things that make the state attractive to prospective business investment such as its location to major population centers, multiple interstate highways and waterways access, will come to the forefront when competing with other areas.
“We are in a good position,” Stivers said. “I think, truly, the best days of Kentucky are ahead of us.”
Stivers said tax reform and pension reform are two things that have yet to be addressed. However, those will likely be on the agenda when Gov. Matt Bevin calls a special session later in the year.