News Briefs

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By The Staff

Former officer pleads guilty to drug possession

A former Oldham County Police officer who worked with the department's drug-sniffing dog will complete community service and pay a fine for cultivating marijuana in July.

Gerald 'Jerry' Colston pleaded guilty to possession of less than eight ounces of marijuana on Nov. 21.

Colston, 38, was originally charged with cultivating less than five plants of marijuana. That charge was amended.

He was sentenced to pay a $250 fine and complete 150 hours of community service.

Colston was arrested Sept. 4 after a Kentucky State Police investigation revealed the narcotics officer was growing marijuana in his home on Rose Island Road in July.

He resigned from OCPD Aug. 31.

OCPD is operating without a canine officer, but Maj. Tim Wakefield said several OCPD officers are interested in training to work with a canine unit.

Reggie, OCPD's German Shepherd, is now working with KSP.

OCPD will utilize dogs from KSP until an officer is trained for the canine narcotics position. Colston was hired by OCPD in August 1999.

Road closures planned for Light Up La Grange

Streets in downtown La Grange will close at 4 p.m. Friday for the city's Light Up La Grange celebration.

Vehicles parked along closed streets after 4 p.m. will be towed at the owner's expense.

Closures include Second Street from Main to Jefferson, Main Street from Cedar to Second Street and Walnut Street from Jefferson to Washington.

Pewee Valley hosts annual yule log celebration at Town Hall

The City of Pewee Valley will host a yule log celebration from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday in the town square.

The event includes chili, a bon fire, firetruck rides, holiday music and a visit from Santa Claus.

Recycling center hosts Junk Day

Oldham County Roundup is planned 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Oldham County Recycling Center on Ky. 393 in Buckner across from Oldham County High School.

Acceptable items include stoves, refrigerators, air conditioners, TV's, furniture, playground equipment, auto parts and large household items.

Unacceptable items include paint, solvents or liquids, household chemicals, vehicle bodies, treated wood and tires.

Any item containing Freon must be certified by a technician and tagged that it has been removed and safely disposed prior to bringing it to the recycling center.

Lawn mowers and motorized items must have fuel and oil drained.

Proof of residency is required and Oldham County reserves the right to refuse items.

Cities raise insurance premium tax rate

No matter what, insurance premium tax rates are rising to 10 percent in every city in Oldham County next year.

But La Grange and Pewee Valley officials decided to increase their rates to keep city tax revenue from slipping into the county's budget.

Members of the La Grange and Pewee Valley city councils hosted first readings Monday night to raise their insurance premium taxes to 10 percent.

In response to Oldham County Fiscal Court's increase of the tax on Nov. 20, cities are matching the county's rate to avoid losing tax revenue from households inside city jurisdiction.

La Grange's current rate is 6 percent, and Pewee Valley's is 5 percent.

The increase won't change the amount taxpayers are billed, but will ensure that there isn't a disparage between the county's 10 percent and city's 5 to 6 percent, which would grant the county an additional 4 to 6 percent from the tax.

Shawn Boyle, Oldham County's chief financial officer, said he anticipated cities would raise their insurance premium tax after the county's increase was approved by members of fiscal court. The $2 million projected revenue from the tax increase was calculated assuming the cities would follow the county in raising the tax.

"They are using us as an excuse to raise taxes," Boyle said.

Former Oldham County Judge-Executive John Black told members of fiscal court Tuesday he is outraged by the La Grange city council's lack of purpose in raising the tax. He argued that a tax increase should be justified by the council for a specific purpose, not mimicked because of the county's action.

"(They) haven't given any basis as to why they need the money," Black said. "This is what's got people in an uproar - not working together and still raising taxes."

Pewee Valley council member Dana Barrette said the county is making an effort to fix a problem concerning where insurance premium taxes go. Currently, there are homes with a Pewee Valley mailing address that sit outside city limits which are paying insurance premium taxes to the city.

County officials are working to correct the problem, but in the process, Barrette projects the city will lose a third of its insurance premium tax revenue, which constitutes a good portion of the city's revenue as a whole.

He also said while the city currently charges 5 percent, if they maintain that rate, Pewee residents will still pay 10 percent, but half of that will go to the county.

By raising the city tax to 10 percent, all revenue will come to the city and help offset the losses from redistricting.

"I want people to know that we aren't the ones raising your taxes," council member Willard Chambers said.

The increase is effective July 1.

Prospect city council changes meeting time

Members of the Prospect city council recently voted to change monthly meetings to 7 p.m. rather than 7:30 p.m.

The council meets on the third Monday of the month. Council members voted on the change during the Nov. 19 meeting.

The time change was prompted when several council members were staying past 10 p.m. for meetings.

The time change will start at the Dec. 17 meeting.

Nuss will lead Oldham County dispatch

Members of Oldham County Fiscal Court hired Kevin Nuss, the county’s emergency management director, to fill Todd McKay’s position as director of Oldham County Central Dispatch.

McKay submitted his retirement letter to fiscal court during Tuesday’s meeting.

Nuss, a former Oldham County Police officer, will continue to serve as the county’s emergency management director.

His first day as director of OCCD is Jan. 16.