Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen is encouraging local officials to help him find out about the state’s hundreds of special taxing districts.
A special taxing district is a quasi-governmental agency—such as a local sewer system or public library—that gets its funds from a separate tax.
No one knows how many such districts there are in the state. And since the spring, Edelen has set out to find and catalog all of the districts, then see if any are abusing public funds.
“So we need a centralized registry, we need it because the taxpayers need to have faith and trust and ability to quickly glean information about organizations for whom they pay the freight,” Edelen says.
Edelen expects the website listing the taxing districts to be ready by December. He says his office will also release recommendations on how to fix or improve the taxing district system. One of those recommendations will be a central registry, in addition to the website, for the public to review the special districts information and spending.
Once that’s done, Edelen plans to work with lawmakers to pass reforms.
“And we have worked very closely with legislative leadership in both chambers and indeed the relevant committee staff on this issue and there is an appetite for reform. And I’m very optimistic about our chances to bring increased and better oversight to this system,” he says.