Mayfield annexation of Graves County school buildings postponed

The Mayfield City Council is putting off reading its first draft of intent to annex two Graves County schools and two buildings because it’s not ready.

The city’s attorney says the school did not allow them on the property to get necessary measurements for an annexation description.

The school district’s attorney Ed Massey says the district is OK with surveyors being on school grounds, but feels they don’t have the correct permission to perform the survey.

“The only thing that has happened with the surveyors is that they showed up, I was called by the superintendent, and I drafted a letter and immediately sent it over to the surveying company and said, ‘Hey, we don’t think that you are permitted to be there for the purposes of the survey. We consider that trespassing,” Massey said.

Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell says they received a cease and desist letter from Masse saying they didn’t get proper notification for the surveyors.

Meanwhile, Massey says the district feels bullied over a newly added building where a school resource officer may live near the middle school and high school in Graves County. They need a permit for a septic tank, but say they haven’t gotten any response from the health department.

“As a result, we think that there is some kind of underpinning going on trying to prohibit that because they believe that will in effectuate their ability to get the annexation through,” Massey said..

Rochetti-Cantrell says she has nothing to do with that.

“I was honestly a little frustrated with the health department that they would do that because sanitary sewer is available,” Rochetti-Cantrell said.

She says she supports the county and that annexation is a tool to help cities grow.

“I feel as a city leader that I need to take advantage of it, and it’s not, I wouldn’t bully anybody,” Rochetti-Cantrell said.

People against annexation at Monday night’s council meeting say it will hurt school employees and the county. Three people backed by a crowd of supporters urged the council to vote no to annexation including Matthew Powell the county’s teacher education support professional

“This issue is more than hardworking employees losing money out of their paycheck. It’s the pocketing of county revenue that can be used to benefit our students and communities,” Powell said.

Employees in buildings that would be annexed would be subject to a 2 percent payroll tax.

Right now, those employees pay a 1 percent payroll tax to the county. For example, numbers from the Kentucky Department of Education show the average annual salary for a teacher is $48,631. Right now, $486 of that goes to Graves County in payroll taxes. With the annexation that number would jump to $972, and the money would go to the city instead of the county. 

The mayor says they were originally planning on phasing in the additional 1 percent tax but says now that their having to spend extra money with the surveyors they’re finance committee thinks maybe they can’t afford to do that anymore.

Rochetti-Cantrell says they can move forward with annexation without being on school property if they get the legal description recorded when the facilities were built. The mayor says they should be able to get everything ready for a first reading at their next meeting on Dec. 14. 

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