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Hancock County occupational tax revenue up half-million

Hancock County Fiscal Court has reported a half-million-dollar increase in the county occupational tax revenue for Fiscal year 2020-2021, which ended on Oct. 31.

Judge-Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts told magistrates at Monday’s regular meeting of Fiscal Court the county collected $1.75 million from the tax levy on wages earned within Hancock County in the fiscal year, up from $1.26 million collected in 2019-2020.

Robert said he believes the increase is a good indicator the community’s economy and employers are doing very well following the challenges of COVID-19.

“The increase was a very welcomed thing to see,” Roberts said. “Our industries and businesses have bounced back well (from pandemic slowdown), and I think from the unemployment numbers we’ve been getting, that the workforce is stable and rearing to go.”

Industrial Foundation Director Mike Baker reported in his remarks to Fiscal Court Hancock County registered a 3.7-percent unemployment rate in September, the second month in a row the figure was at that level.
“What this means for us is that everyone in Hancock County who wants a job is working,” Baker said.

The September rate for Kentucky was 3.9 percent and 4.6 percent for the United States.
The 2020 annual rate for Hancock County was 6.1 percent, 6.6 percent for the state, and 8.1 percent nationwide.

Green River Area Development District has remained one of the strongest ADDs in the state over the past year for strong employment numbers.

Statewide, unemployment spiked to 16.9 percent in April 2020, while Hancock saw a COVID-related high of 17.7 percent that same month. Hancock’s labor force hovers around 3,700 people of working age.

In other business, Fiscal Court:
• Heard Hancock County Emergency Management continues its work to establish permanent landing zones locations throughout the county for air ambulance access in emergencies.

Air evacuation helicopters require a buffer of 100 feet in all directions for safe operating conditions. While several have been established, the southern portion of the county remains a challenge with few suitable areas for safe helicopter operations.

EMA also assisted with coordinating a recent rescue training at Jeffreys Cliffs, and is currently working with the Heritage Foundation to establish a permanent landing zone at the north parking lot of the public recreation area. The zones are shared with air ambulances operators through precise coordinates.

• Approved the purchase of playground equipment for South Hancock Park and Vastwood Park. Lead time for delivery of the equipment will about four to five months, Roberts said.

• Heard the Hancock County Senior Services will reopen on Nov. 15.

• Approved a bid to replace carpeting at the Hancock County Career Center. The bid was awarded to Carpets Unlimited Flooring Center at $27,500.

By C. Josh Givens

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