Tempers flare as Martin tries to take control of neighboring properties

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MARTIN, Ky. (WYMT) - It has been close to one month since we began trying to get in touch with officials in the city of Martin, including the mayor.

Many people in the county are concerned about an annexation proposal by the city of Martin and how it would affect people living in areas the city is trying to take.

There are three phases of the annexation proposal.

1.) City officials want to take control of the state roads surrounding Martin.
2.) The city council will then annex the businesses along those roads.
3.) Once businesses have been annexed, city officials will then try to annex the communities along the state roads.

Essentially, the goal of this plan is to increase tax revenue to the city.

"That little word, 'taxes' excites everybody. Of course, I don't want to put a burden on anybody", said Harold Case, who is a member of the Martin City Council. "We pay enough tax anyway. We're just trying to better things."

This would add at least five new taxes to people in Left and Right Beaver, including occupational taxes, insurance taxes, city taxes, property taxes, and business license taxes.

Business owners fear how it would affect their employees.

"We provide insurance to those 20 people", said Steven Dawson, who lives in and owns businesses in McDowell. "And Martin has an insurance tax that would be tacked on. It's like 9%. So imagine, 9% of 1000 is 90. And that's a policy for one family."

People in the areas this would affect already pay for things like water, sewer, and emergency services through the county.

"We've got county police protection, we've got state police protection", said Terry Thornsberry, who owns property in the proposed area. "What do we need Martin for? Why do we need a third layer for?"

Others say the lack of communication from city officials, including the mayor, have led to frustrations.

"Saturday we came out. There were about 170 of us that came out. They just, out of the blue, canceled it", said Rita Daniels, who lives and works in Minnie. "Where were they? Why didn't they show up? Was it not important enough."

Some fear this proposal is a result of financial mismanagement. They point to the Renaissance Learning Center, which is the brand new school built next to Martin city hall.

Because of a lack of water pressure, the school is unusable.

"They sunk all their money into this wall up here and this school that they can't even use. Now, they're expecting the people of McDowell, Minnie, Maytown, and Garrett to bail them out."

The proposal would also annex four county schools, including the new Floyd Central School. That would add new taxes to all of their employees.

Floyd County would lose a substantial amount of tax revenue if the proposal passes.

The Floyd County Fiscal Court is currently seeking legal representation to see what their options are at this point.


For clarification to an interview we did in this story, the Renaissance Learning Center, which was referred to as being a sign of financial mismanagement, is actually primarily funded by the federal government.

For more on that story, click here.

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