​FC Finance Committee Recommends Property Tax Rate

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
The Franklin County Finance Committee approved a motion to recommend that the county’s combined property tax rate remain at 2.67 percent.
The decision to stay with the current tax rate came after much discussion of how lowering the tax rate to the proposed state recommended certified tax rate of 2.36 percent would affect the county.
Eddie Clark, seat A in the fourth district, said accepting the state-certified tax rate without restructuring in previous years caused problems for the county.
“It put us in a bind the next two or three years,” said Clark.
According to Andrea Smith, director of finance, the committee will have to make a recommendation to the county commission to leave the rate the same. The commission will then have to oversee the restructure and reappraisal of the rate.
“Overall, our growth over last year was not what I would have hoped for,” said Smith. “The rate was reduced lower than what I would have hoped. County-wide in 2012, we received about $1.2 million in growth, and we didn’t get anywhere near that this year. Appraisal values were great, but the state calculation process is murky.”
Smith did say the county is showing growth via increasing reappraisals.
The committee also motioned to send the Franklin County Senior Citizen Committee to go speak to Board Members at the Senior Citizens’ Center after a request for additional funds from the county. The county owns the building and is responsible for maintenance.
“They are seeking from the commission to consider putting in a phone system like the other county buildings have. I would estimate about $5,000 for that expense,” said Smith. “They would like for us to take on their copier lease, and they are asking for $8,000 additional funding in budget. Currently, we pay $13,500 per year to help them with expenses and about $2,500 a year in custodial supplies.”
The finance committee will hear the issue again after a report from the senior citizen committee.
A request by the Solid Waste board to reconcile pay among highway department employees and those at Solid Waste was approved.
“Back when it was originally passed, the premise was that the pay would be the same between truck drivers at the highway department and Solid Waste. The difference in budget is about $32,000, and that’s salaries and benefits department-wide,” said Smith.
David Eldridge, seat A in the seventh district, said the pay scales just got off-sync.
Also discussed at the meeting were resolutions to the general school board budget. If resolutions to the general county budget are not approved before August, the state could hold school funding, according to Smith.
The school board is asking for roughly $500,000 in new money, according to Clark.
“But if we leave the tax rate at 2.67 percent, they’re going to get growth, enough money in growth to cover what they’re asking for,” said Clark.
Smith said they would automatically capture that growth if the rate structure stayed the same.
The final order of business was the pending insurance and Board of Education approval of the Coca Cola-sponsored scoreboard planned for the high school. The school will be going under a seven-year contract, with the county paying nothing for the addition.

For more information go to http://www.franklincotn.us.