County budget approved with tax increases, additional public safety funding
County Commissioners unanimously approved their budget that includes tax increases.
This year, the commission has decided to levy the maximum mills for the rural levies.
That equates to a homeowner in the city who pays the countywide mill levy with an assessed taxable value of $212,700 will see a county tax increase of $10.73 this year, or 2.9 percent, according to county budget officer Mary Embleton’s budget summary.
A homeowner in the unincorporated areas of the county who pays countywide and rural mills with an assessed taxable value of $161,300 will see an increase of $10.60 annually, or 2.77 percent, according to the country figures.
During their Sept. 20 special meeting, Embleton told commissioners that the inflationary factor is up to 1.77 percent this year, over 0.93 percent last year, and the value of mills has increased.
Embleton said that for a $100,000 taxable value house in the rural county, taxpayers will pay an additional $6.57 this year in county taxes.
For a house of the same value within the city limits, those taxpayers will pay an additional $5.05 in county taxes this year, she said.
The fiscal year began July 1.
The proposed county budget includes $94.96 million of expenditures in all funds, or a 22.1 increase over the previous year’s amended budget.
The budget includes about $69.2 million in revenues with $25.76 million coming from reserves, including $15.4 million of American Rescue Plan pandemic recovery funds, $4.5 million in vacancy savings and $2.45 million in capital outlay reappropriations, according to Mary Embleton, county budget officer.
The budget includes $5.7 million in ARPA grant funding for 16 water and/or sewer improvement projects and another $3.7 million in ARPA grant funding to local non-profits for various projects.
The county has also budgeted $3.5 of ARPA funds for county projects including those at the sheriff’s office, adult and juvenile detention centers and the health department.
The largest expense in this year’s budget is public safety with $19.5 million, or 20.6 percent, of county expenditures.
The category includes the sheriff’s office and the jail.
In this year’s budget, county officials added mills to public safety, increasing their funding by $461,261 of tax revenue over last year, Embleton said.
There was no public comment during the budget hearing.