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Weakley County Raises Property Taxes

Weakley County Raises Property Taxes
After a brief public hearing on Monday the issues of a property tax increase and the fiscal year 2007-08 county budget was approved Tuesday night by the Weakley County Board of County Commissioners.
The across the board property tax increase calls for a 20 cent hike from the previous tax rate of $2.17 per $100 of assessed property value to $2.37 per $100 of assessed property values.
According to the Weakley County Assessor of Property’s office, farm/residential property is assessed at 25 percent of its fair market value; commercial/industrial property is assessed at 40 percent and public utility property is assessed at 55 percent.
An issue of an increase in the property tax rate was brought up two weeks ago after the Weakley County Finance Ways and Means Committee concurred the county had been living off of reserves over the past few years. Although a public notice was issued for a public hearing to be held, the notice only cited a public hearing was to be held Monday, July 30 for the purpose of discussing the upcoming fiscal year budget.
The public hearing was to also address the issue of a proposed property tax increase. With a lack of public participation Monday night, the committee’s recommendation for the property tax hike was placed before the county commissioners Tuesday when it passed by a vote of 15-3.
Commissioners Joe Farmer, Mac Buckley and James Barner voted against the resolution that increased the property tax rate by nine percent.
Commissioner Eric Owens remarked during the meeting that because the subject would be brought up again next year, “Let’s do it now or not at all.” The new tax rate went into effect immediately. According to a previous article published 2002 in a summer edition of The Press, a property tax increase of approximately 15 cents passed that year.
The recent increase would allow for an additional two cents in the General Fund budget from 66 to 68 cents of the property tax; the School Fund budget would receive 88 cents of the tax and the Debt Service Fund would receive an increase of 10 cents from 50 to 60 cents of the property tax rate.
A Property Tax Freeze Act passed by state legislation allows the legislative body of any county or municipality to adopt a property tax freeze program for elderly, disabled or low-income families under the provisions of the Act. The state has a public hearing scheduled for the purpose of discussing rules regarding the Property Tax Freeze Act is set for Sept. 17. Currently, Weakley County has not adopted the Act.
In other commission news, board members by a vote of 16-2 approved the 2007-08 fiscal year county budget, which included an amendment for an adjustment of a three percent raise in the salaries of the county clerk deputies made by County Commission Chairman Dick Phebus. Commissioners Jack Vincent and Barner voted against the resolution.
A final resolution for the appropriation of all non-profit funds passed by the commission.
The Health, Education and Economic Development Committee will meet to further discuss and collect information that includes a cost estimate from TLM Associates for the construction of a new election commission building.
The commission is scheduled to meet again in regular session at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 17.

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