Via the Wilcosun:
County cuts budget and raises taxes
FACING A $9M BUDGET SHORTFALL NEXT YEAR, COUNTY COMMISSIONERS cut the proposed 2009-10 budget by more than $1.6 million and raised the property tax rate to 48.99 cents per $100 of taxable value. The final general fund budget for the county is more than $121.2 million.
During more than four hours of discussion Tuesday, commissioners declined to staff several unfilled positions in the county, postponed buying several new vehicles for departments and ordered that several projects and purchases be delayed.
“Right now, government is the only thing that’s growing. This is the time of all times to be cutting back,” argued Commissioner Valerie Covey.
The final budget passed with a vote of 3-2 with Commissioners Covey and Lisa Birkman opposed. The county has estimated that its taxable value has declined by about 10 percent and the average home is valued at $188,588, a 2 percent drop from last year. The average homeowner would pay $923 in property taxes.
Judge Dan A. Gattis warned that delaying expenses, significantly cutting the budget and not significantly raising taxes could have consequences next year.
“Next year is going to be a tougher year. We need to be prepared for that. If we cut ourselves to the bare bones this year, where does that leave us next year?” he said.
The tax rate passed with a vote of 3-2. Commissioners Covey and Birkman were against it, saying that it should be lower
Read the county press release here.