06/27/05 — Board to decide on taxes Tuesday

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Board to decide on taxes Tuesday

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on June 27, 2005 1:45 PM

Wayne County citizens will learn Tuesday how much more property taxes they will have to pay in the coming year.

The county Board of Commissioners will meet at 11 a.m. to vote on the 2005-06 county budget. The meeting will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the Wayne County Courthouse.

Commissioners are considering a 7.5-cent increase in the property tax rate, from 66 cents to 73.5 cents per $100 worth of property.

The proposed $85 million county budget is $85 million, much of which is state and federal money that flows through county coffers.

Local property taxes account for about nearly 40 percent of the revenue in the budget. The county's tax base is about $4.5 billion.

County officials said most of the increase in tax revenue is needed to keep up with mounting expenses and to prevent further reduction of the county's reserve accounts.

County Manager Lee Smith is recommending that no money be taken from reserves to balance the budget. Last year, commissioners pulled $1.4 million from savings.

Rising Medicaid costs account for about 1.3 cents of the proposed increase. Money for school expenses accounts for about 1.5 cents.

About 1.3 cents is needed to help establish a fund to deal with economic development, Smith said. The county needs to be prepared to come up with incentives should an industry consider locating here, he said.

Other anticipated costs that are driving the increase are medical expenses at the county jail and increased funding for Wayne Community College.

Commissioners have not increased the tax rate since 2002, when it went up by five cents. They lowered the rate by four cents after the 2003 revaluation of property in the county. State law requires property be revaluated at least every eight years.