RESIDENTS CALL FOR BUDGET CUTS – FRUSTRATED WITH PROPOSED TAX HIKE

RESIDENTS CALL FOR BUDGET CUTS – FRUSTRATED WITH PROPOSED TAX HIKE

PUBLIC HEARING SET FOR THURSDAY – VOTE MONDAY NIGHT
Residents vented their frustrations over the county’s proposed 59 cent property tax increase during a town hall meeting held at Union Heights Elementary School, Thursday night. A series of budget miscues has left the county basically broke as commissioners meet later this month to set a 2019-2020 fiscal year budget and set a county property tax rate to fund the coming year’s budget.

The county’s Budget and Finance Committee is proposing an increase of 59 cents per $100 of assessed property to fund the upcoming budget. The county’s property tax rate is currently $2.14. If approved, the rate would climb to $2.73. “For the last two months we’ve basically stopped spending,”

County Mayor Jeff Mason told residents gathered for the meeting. “Nobody wants to be here because of the situation we’re in. This is not a subject I expected to be dealing with in my first year in office. I know this is a big increase. I don’t like it. I wish there was a better way to do it. I have to pay it too.” Throughout the meeting residents suggested areas where the budget could be cut and questioned county expenditures. Having been in office less than a year, Mayor Mason says he has found ways the county can cut expenses, given time.

Public hearing: There will be a public hearing on the county’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget and proposed property tax rate increase. The public hearing is set for 6 p.m., Thursday, June 20 at the Smith County Jail and Courts Facility. Commissioners vote on the budget and proposed tax increase on June 24.

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