County revenue and property tax projections made last December when the commission drew up the current budget will not require an increase in the tax rate.
The commissioners set the county's tax rate Wednesday, bringing in a few thousand dollars less than authorized by the state Tax Commission. Property taxes will be higher this year, but the increase results from a state-mandated increase in the formula to determine assessed valuations, not from a rate increase.The change in the assessment is the state Legislature's way of dealing with a decision mandating equalization of locally and state-assessed property, handed down by the state Supreme Court.
When the county's budget was drawn up last December, a property tax rate of .003626, which county officials estimated would bring in $13.54 million in revenue, was used.
The certified rate from the Tax Commission, based on the new assessment formula and the county's growth, is .003659, which would yield $13.67 million in revenue.
The commission Wednesday set the rate at .003655, which will bring in $13.65 million in property tax revenue.
If the commission had set the rate above the certified rate, state law requires a public hearing be held and a tax increase notice be advertised to the public.
County fiscal analyst LaMar Holt said the new assessment formula set up by the state increases the county's total assessment by 8 percent to make up for revenue lost on state-assessed large industrial and commercial properties.
The county could have slipped a tax increase through by keeping its tax rate the same as last year and capitalizing on the higher assessment, Holt said, but chose to reduce its rate and keep the revenue coming in at the same level.
Owner of a home valued at $70,000 will pay about $170 in county property tax, Holt calculated, an increase of between $3 and $5.