By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Commission approves consolidated budget
Plan calls for ten-cent increase in tax rate
commission w sm.jpg
After a spirited public hearing, The county commission voted 12-2, Monday night to adopt a budget which will increase the overall property tax rate to $1.62 cents per $100 of assessed value, almost a ten-cent increase above the new certified tax rate of $1.5214 set by the state after this year’s reappraisal.Five cents of the tax hike will go to schools, and five cents will go into the county general fund.Commissioners Jimmy Poss and Jerry Adcock cast votes against the ten-cent increase.The commission voted down the school board's request for an 11.54 cent tax hike for schools and an additional $169,000 in funding from the sales tax/sinking fund by a vote of 14-0.Four commissioners declared conflict due to relatives working in the school system, but intimated that they would vote their consciences on the matter.Marshall Ferrell, Bradley Hendrix and Jimmy Poss all work for the school system, and Jack Barton's wife is a DeKalb County teacher.The commission then voted 13-1 to adopt the consolidated budget as presented by the budget committee, which includes an overall ten-cent tax increase.Seventh district commissioner Jimmy Poss voted against the consolidated budget as well.Poss told the Review after the meeting that his “no” votes were the result of promises made to his constituents.“I promised the people in my district that if they elected me that I would not vote for any tax increase,” Poss said. “I am not against the school system; I simply made the people in my district a promise.”Under the consolidated budget, certified and non-certified school employees will get a 3.2 percent increase in pay for support staff or non-certified personnel, and a 1.6 percent local increase to match the state's 1.6 percent increase for certified personnel.The five-cent increase for schools equals about $210,000, which is expected to be enough to cover the pay raises.The new property tax rate will allow for 83 cents for the county general fund, three cents for public works, nine cents for general capital projects, 12 cents for debt service, and 55 cents for the school system.The new budget includes a four-tiered salary pay scale for employees of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to make their salaries more competitive with other law enforcement agencies in the area.All other full time county employees are budgeted a $1,000 pay raise for the year, which equates to about a fifty cent per hour increase. County Fire Chief Donny Green's request for $180,000 to purchase a new fire pumper to replace the 1979 model engine at the Midway ststion will not be granted now.Although the truck has not been included in the budget, the department may be able to fund replacement of a portion of turnout gear and breathing cylinders, as well as purchase an older model equipment truck.