Meeting Thursday, the Anderson County Budget Committee passed a budget recommendation that includes a property tax increase of 12.80 cents.
Finance Director Natalie Erb told County Commissioners during a budget workshop on Monday afternoon that, as proposed, the general fund budget would have necessitated a 31-cent property tax increase, while the proposed school budget would add another 14 cents to the tax levy. Several commissioners indicated during Monday’s meeting that they would not be able to support any sort of tax increase, much less one of that magnitude, and referred discussion back to the Budget Committee, which met Thursday afternoon.
According to Committee Chairman Jerry White, the budget proposal approved during the meeting includes 2% pay raises for county employees and fully funds the Sheriff’s Department request for money to open the minimum security pod at the Jail to address overcrowding issues.
One penny on the tax rate equals $162,000.
The 12.80-cent increase breaks down like this, according to White:
- 8.3 cents of the proposed increase would go to the Sheriff’s Department;
- one cent will go to the Solid Waste Department for a new employee;
- one cent will go to the EMS Department;
- two cents will be used to fund the employee pay raises;
- one-quarter of one penny would be allocated to the Health Department for a new dentist;
- and another one-quarter of one penny would be given to Fleet Services for maintenance of county vehicles.
The Budget Committee did agree to include appropximately $13,000 to $14,000 for what was described as “bulletproof wall” in the front office area of the Law Director’s office in the Jolley Building. White told WYSH that this has been discussed for a couple of years now and follows recommendations from the DA, the Law Director and other law enforcement officials. The work will be done by prisoners at the Jail to help cut down on the cost of the project.
The Budget Committee rejected a request from the county school system for a five cent property tax increase, so officials are continuing to look for ways to fund pay raises for employees in the schools.
The budget proposal will be made to the full County Commission during the required public hearing on the subject, which has yet to be scheduled, before Commissioners take it up for consideration.