Since 1981 Mason County population dropped from 18,314 in 1981 to 16,931 in 2021 or -7.6%. read more

During this period, the 65 and over group grew 26.9 % between 1981 and 2021, while those aged 20 – 34 who are just entering the workforce dropped by 27.6%.

From 1981 to 2021, the percentage of our population aged 20 to 64 (prime years in the workforce) rose from 54.9% to 55.7%. Or stated another way, in 1981, we had 10,054 in our local 20 to 64 aged workforce. In 2021 the 20 – 64 aged workers dropped to 9,430.

While some would base plans for our future on ever-larger payroll taxes, in reality, we have 623 fewer local workers than in 1981.

The above seems to support recruiting businesses that will pay large real estate property taxes. Their tax payments can fund the services needed to recruit other prospects who will have larger payrolls but who do not want to enter a community where they will bear all the costs of local services.

Compare this to changes in KY population from 1981 to 2021

KY grew 22.9%, while the USA grew 44.4%

From 1981 to 2021, the percentage of KY’s population aged 20 to 64 (prime years in the workforce) rose from 55.7% to 57.8%.

In conclusion while Kentucky’s population grew 22.9% Mason County’s population shrank by 7.6%.

As our “working age” population declines, we have fewer folks contributing to funding the local services expected in the twenty-first century.

KY taxes on real estate are calculated based on the income the real estate generates. Investments in rural Mason County that increase an acre’s profitability will increase the local real estate property tax that acre pays.

Some would tell us to wait until we win the economic growth lottery and land a new industry that will build a massive new plant and employ several hundred folks. While I hope that happens, we need to find ways to grow our rural investment in the meantime.

Troy Craycraft, Mason County’s PVA, testified under oath that Large-scale solar can make these contributions to local tax districts’ revenue. (Assumes lease rate of $650/acre/year)

There are certainly other ways to grow property tax revenue. Investing in large-scale swine and/or poultry confinement operations can also increase local real estate property tax revenue by increasing profit per acre.

As we discuss Maysville-Mason County’s next comprehensive plan, I hope we can agree that we must not simply embrace our status quo. We must work together to find the best way to fund our local services in the face of our declining population’s aging. This will ensure our future while we recruit an economic development whale to our area.

Our county’s current trends show why we can not sustain the status quit. We must instead work together to recruit activities that will Grow Rural Investment & Profits. Doing this will dramatically increase our tax base. That increased tax base will fund government services. Companies and people like services that are paid for by others.

Benjamin Franklin is often credited with saying that the definition of “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”