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Troy to exceed certified tax rate

Troy to exceed certified tax rate

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2008 10:15 pm
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor

 By DONNA RYDER Messenger Associate Editor After hearing from several of its citizens, the Troy board of aldermen decided Wednesday afternoon to maintain its current tax rate. Because it was a reappraisal year, the state calculated a certified tax rate which it determined would bring in the same amount of money as the previous year. That rate is $1.5643. But Mayor Jimmie Hart said because the town’s expenses continue to rise, it needs to maintain its current property tax rate of $1.70. Gaylon Long spoke in opposition to the tax rate “increase,” saying it was not a necessity. He said the city has excess funds and is asking people who are on fixed incomes to come up with more money, even though the town has money in the bank. He said basically the town’s board is saying, “We’re going to save ours, but you give more.” He also said he does not think it is right for the town to roll interest earned on CDs into them when they are renewed. He said that interest should be used to support the general fund. Hart said the town does not do it that way, keeping the funds earned from those CDs within the department they are earned. “We have to have a nest egg,” the mayor said, adding state officials with the Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service suggest all municipalities maintain their current tax rate, instead of accepting the certified tax rate. Long said he was not satisfied with the answer of “everything keeps going up” as the reason for the increase over the state-certified rate. Hart responded that the town’s expenditures for the 2008-09 fiscal year exceed the revenues by $26,592. During Monday night’s meeting, he said health insurance is going up 4 percent, electricity rates are going up 20 percent and bookkeeping fees went up 3 percent. The board received support from resident John Snead, who was once in charge of the budget committee in Lauderdale County. He said towns must keep up their reserves and that it makes more sense to go up on the property tax revenues a little at a time. Former mayor W.G. Scott, who served the town 14 years as an alderman, six years as mayor and 52 years as assistant fire chief, said he hears nothing but good things about Troy and that the town is the envy of several towns in West Tennessee. “Thank goodness we don’t have to go back to a town with no paved streets,” he said, adding he can remember when the board had to borrow money just to pay the bills. Scott added he’s figured his property tax, keeping the rate at $1.70, and it will only be $25 more a year. He said he is happy to pay the extra amount to see Troy “progress, instead of regress.” The concern shown by resident Ronald Jackson was for senior citizens on fixed incomes. Mayor Hart said there is a program for which those citizens can apply to have their property taxes decreased. In fact, Hart had a list of those residents currently on the program. The assistance is income-based. Alderman Gene Gurien brought attention to a handout provided by the mayor which shows the difference citizens would be paying. The differences between the $1.5643 and the $1.70 include: $16.97 for a $50,000 house, $25.45 for a $75,000 house, $28.59 for an $85,000 house, $33.93 for a $100,000 house and $50.89 for a $150,000 house. Alderman Deanna Chappell added she does not want Troy to get into the same situation as other towns in the county who are having cash flow problems. “It’s not a large amount of money,” she added. Immediately following the public hearing, the board agreed to exceed the certified tax rate and maintain the town’s $1.70 property tax rate. Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 9.18.08

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