Jackson County Commissioners on Tuesday set the tentative ad valorem millage at 7.87, the same rate property owners were asked to pay last year.
If the county were to ultimately adopt that tax figure, it would generate an estimated $673,434 more than the rate drew in last year, because some property values have increased in this fiscal year compared to last. The board would have to advertise a rate increase if they were to do that or adopt any ad valorem rate higher than the roll-back.
The roll-back is meant to generate only as many tax dollars as were realized last year, within a narrow window of change.
The board was presented a balanced budget this year when they started deliberations for fiscal year 2020-21 earlier this month. It was built the county’s roll-back rate of 7.44, which should generate $11,893,005. That’s an estimated $29,023 more than was generated by year’s millage of 7.874.
Commission Chairman Clint Pate said he fully expects the board to ultimately adopt a lower tax rate, perhaps much closer to the roll-back, but that, as is often done at this stage in the budgeting process, last year’s millage was approved as a tentative figure in order to give the board wiggle room as it considers its final budget. Once the tentative millage is declared to the state, the board can reduce but not increase it.
The balanced budget left intact the bare general operating expenses for each county department and also included a proposed two percent cost- of-living wage increase across the board for county workers and an additional annual longevity increase. The longevity pay-plan was implemented last year, is slated to occur again this year and tentatively scheduled to be bestowed once more, in 2021-22.
The extras, like equipment purchases, additional staff positions and other requests by department heads were presented in a separate ‘special projects’ package for the board to consider. They come to more than $2.2 million.
The county will continue budget deliberations on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 in what may be nearly day-long sessions beginning at 9 a.m.
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