After a second reading of an ordinance involving county tax rates, the Harrison County Fiscal Court voted to take the 10.2 cent compensating rate.
Surprisingly, many audience seats remained vacant during the final reading of this year’s proposed tax rates. However, the few occupied seats were filled with those voters opposing any raise in taxes for next year.
Members of the TEA Party were present to express their opposition to the county taking any kind of rate that would ultimately take more money from tax payers.
“Was there any kind of surplus after this fiscal year?” asked TEA Party member John Chamberlin. “If so, then why would the county need to take any kind of rate that would take more money out of my pocket.”
County Judge-Executive Alex Barnett explained the county did have a minimal surplus of money after the fiscal year. However, he reminded the court and listeners that the county did not take any compensating rate last year.
Last year’s 9.9 rate was projected to land the county $784,971. However, due to non-payers and exemptions, the county only banked $717,00 of the projected revenue.
“What this rate is designed to do is to keep our income the same,” said Barnett. “I can see how to many it looks like an increase, but it will generate the same amount of money as last year.”
Barnett further explained that products used by the county including oil, rock, salt and fuel continue to increase in cost each year.
“The state looks at the increased cost of products and they come up with this number,” said Barnett.
Barnett also mentioned the continued number of houses being added to the home exemption list.
“We lose homes every year due to home exemptions and property value continues to decrease,” said Barnett.
The compensating rate for 2013 is projected to bring in $807,431 in county tax money.
A call for vote was made and seconded. Magistrates Missy Lutz and Bradley Copes voted “no” with the others all voting for the compensating rate. Motion passed.
Also discussed was the need to list six county vehicles and one mobile trailer as county surplus.
A motion was made and passed to hold a county surplus auction sometime in October where the vehicles and mobile home could be auctioned off.
A motion was also passed to fund a flagman during the construction of Nebo Road.
“The railroad said we must have a flagman present during construction because it is within 25 feet of the railway,” said Barnett. “The total cost for five days will be $5,432.”
Barnett said the money spent on the flagman will also be reimbursed from a state grant being used for the road construction.
Finally, the court announced that the Oct. 23, fiscal court meeting will be held in Berry at 7 p.m.