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Property tax hike looms for next year

Property tax hike looms for next year

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2008 9:33 pm
By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter

By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter No property tax rate increase is expected this year. However, next year, “probably,” according to Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire. “There is a strong possibility of a tax rate increase in the 2009-10 budget,” McGuire said Tuesday. This year, many residents saw their tax bills increase anyway, because of property reappraisals throughout the county. McGuire commented after a $53 million budget for Obion County for fiscal year 2008-09 was approved by unanimous vote of the Obion County budget committee Monday. The new fiscal year began July 1. County government has been operating under the 2007-08 budget until a new one was written and approved. The budget proposed for FY 2008-09 will be submitted to the Obion County Commission for an up or down vote when the commission meets in regular session at 9 a.m. Aug. 18 at the courthouse. “The budget process was longer than usual because of the fuel situation and other year-end financial issues,” said McGuire said. “We thank all the department heads for their input and patience during the budget writing process. We also thank the budget committee for their long hours and hard work in getting this document in its final form.” The new budget — $53,442,353 — is an increase over the 2007-08 budget, which was $48,347,757. The increase is attributed to soaring fuel costs and school construction programs. The 2008-09 budget has been approved by the finance committee. Provisions of the new budget include: • Salary The budget contains a 4 percent salary increase for county employees, including non-teacher employees of Obion County School System. “The Basic Education Program formula generates funding for teacher salaries and supplies and everything else that goes along with a school system,” said Obion County Director of Schools David Huss. “A portion of the BEP goes toward teachers’ salaries. The state has a BEP minimum salary that we can pay teachers. Every school system in the state has to pay at least the minimum amount. “In Obion County, we pay a little more than the minimum amount, but not to the extent of some of the surrounding counties. “The 4 percent that the budget committee passed, we will apply it to the portion that we are paying locally.” • Tax rate “Because of the reappraisal (of property) this year, we passed a new tax rate,” McGuire said. Under the 2007-08 budget, the tax rate is $2.20 per $100 valuation for property located outside the city limits of Union City and $1.71 per $100 valuation for property inside the city limits. “We decreased the outside rate to $1.95 and the inside rate to $1.50,” McGuire said. Thus, a property tax rate increase was avoided. But not for long. McGuire warns it’s “very possible” there will be a property tax rate increase in the 2009-10 budget year. • Fuel McGuire said the soaring costs of crude oil and the resulting adverse effects on prices of gasoline and diesel and such had a significant impact on the county’s budget. “We had to take the yearly fund balance to compensate for the increase in fuel costs,” he said. “The fuel crisis is not restricted to just fuel, though. It affects the price of food we purchase for school cafeterias and at the jail. It affects the price of parts. It affects virtually everything. “We took the fund balance to prevent a property tax rate increase.” • Nonprofit organizations McGuire said the budget committee was able to fund nonprofit organizations at the same rate as contained in the 2007-08 budget. • Miscellaneous appropriations Obion County School System: $28,999,524 Debt service: $1,884,474 County Highway Department: $6,874,739 Drug control: $48,000 Solid waste: $178,106 Obion County Public Library: $600,419. General fund: $9,938,669. Published in The Messenger 8.7.08

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