Thu08282014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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County proposes tax increases on real estate and personal property

Increase geared to pay for law enforcement and fire safety positions

The King George Board of Supervisors is expected to advertise tax rates next week that will reflect an amount that equates to slightly less than a 3-cent increase on the real estate tax rate. They also are proposing a 5-cent increase on personal property taxes on vehicles, which has seen no increases over the last several years.

The tax increases are essentially geared to pay for fire and safety positions and related costs.
Two new sheriff deputy positions are in the proposed budget, along with related equipment, including two new patrol cars.

The tax increase would also help pay for the full-year costs for two deputy positions that were funded mid-year during the current budget year for duties at the courthouse.

Two full-time E-911 dispatch positions would also be hired in the current budget proposal. 

The tax increase would also pick up the full-year costs for six fire & rescue positions that were funded for a half-year in the 2013-14 budget, beginning this past January 2014.

In addition, the budget as currently proposed would include a part-time paralegal for the county attorney’s office and the conversion of two part-time positions in general properties to full-time.

Unanimous agreement was reached on the proposed tax increases at last week’s budget work session on March 19 with four Supervisors present. Cedell Brooks was absent due to a scheduling conflict.

None of the board members want to raise taxes, but can see no other way to close a projected budget gap for next fiscal year, 2014-15, which begins on July 1.

The proposed budget had been scrubbed with no more opportunity for additional cuts. Raising additional revenue appears to be the only alternative.

The proposed tax rates will be on the agenda at next week’s April 1 meeting, planned to be authorized for advertisement for a public hearing that will take place later in the month, at a meeting on April 15. At that time, members of the public can comment on the proposal.

EQUALIZED RATE & INCREASE
The real estate and mobile home tax rate is being proposed to go from the current 53-cents per hundred dollars valuation to 59-cents.

The first 3.14-cents is not a tax increase.

Raising the real estate tax to 56.14-cents would be an “equalized” tax rate that is revenue-neutral for the county, meaning it would bring in the same amount of real estate tax revenue as the 53-cent rate last year on the higher real estate values. Each penny increase is projected to bring in about $249,000.

Personal Property taxes are likewise proposed to go up by 5-cents, from the current $3.20 per $100 assessed valuation to $3.25. Each penny increase on the personal property tax would raise an additional $18,000.

SCHOOL BOARD ADM
Supervisors are proposing to base the School Board budget on an adjusted average daily membership (ADM) of 4,170 students, up from 4,130 used by Superintendent Rob Benson.

That figure is regarded as more accurate and is expected to provide about $180,000 more from state revenue. Benson had said at the lower ADM of 4,130, the division was already expecting a large increase in state revenue of $1.6 million over the amount in current year’s budget. 

1-PERCENT PAY RAISES AT MID-YEAR     The proposal would provide a proposed pay increase of 1-percent starting at mid-year, on Jan. 1, 2015. The increase is expected to cost about $45,000 on the county side and $106,000 for the School Board, if that board agrees to follow suit.

PUBLIC HEARINGS EXPECTED ON APRIL 15
The proposed tax rates are expected to be the topic of a public hearing on April 15. That same evening, there is also expected to be a second public hearing scheduled on the proposed budget for 2014-15.

Phyllis Cook

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