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W. Kentucky city could vote to end its existence

LONE OAK— The question is a simple one: "Are you in favor of dissolving the City of Lone Oak."

How the estimated 175 residents of the half-square mile town in Western Kentucky answer on Tuesday will determine its fate.

The question is on the ballot after more than 100 residents signed a petition last summer brought by a group seeking to dissolve the city, which incorporated in 1979.

If approved, the city would cease to exist 30 days after the vote. Its assets would be turned over to the county. Property owners would still owe their 2008 taxes with the proceeds going to the county.

The move was prompted by a group that says they receive limited services for their taxes.

Joe Gill, who owns a business in Lone Oak with his wife, Anne, said dissolving the city will mean lower taxes.

For a person owning a $100,000 home or business, the tax bill would drop from $516 for city and county taxes to $96 for county taxes only.

If the city is dissolved, Anne Gill said, the area will keep its identity and continue to have high-quality protection from the sheriff's office.

"It was Lone Oak long before it became a city and it would be Lone Oak long after the city is dissolved," Gill told The Paducah Sun.

Mayor Kimberly Stevens and members of the city commission have held town hall meetings and sent information to residents promoting the benefits of staying incorporated.

Stevens said police protection is the most important asset, with additional services promised after a two-phase annexation plan is implemented to increase the tax base.

"What I'm sensing is that most people in Lone Oak and the surrounding area don't want the city dissolved," Stevens said.

"They think the police protection is important because we have a good police force and the response time is short. We have a very low crime rate."

Stevens said annexation, which failed in four previous attempts, is the key to making Lone Oak a more progressive city with lower tax rates.

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