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Washington County mayor to propose 18 cent tax hike

January 12th, 2007 11:45 pm by BEN INGRAM



JOHNSON CITY - Washington County Mayor George Jaynes told members of the county's Budget Committee Friday he plans to put forth an 18 cent property tax increase to the County Commission later this month as a way to pay back $135,690 in bonds issued for the county's school and jail building/justice center programs.


"The county has a 4.44 percent bond rate locked in, which is really good," Jaynes said. "Now, we just have to decide how we're going to pay back these bonds."


Jaynes said he would just be "throwing out" the idea of the increase to commissioners, not deciding for them.


"I'll likely ask them to vote on a resolution on an 18 cent property tax increase, but it will be up to them if that's the repayment route they think the county should take," he said.


"Another option would be to do a combination of a property tax and a wheel tax.


That would mean issuing a $25 wheel tax while adding just 8 cents onto the property tax.


Some felt the combination of a property tax and a wheel tax would please more of the county's residents after commissioners voted to raise the property tax 13 cents in September from $1.87 to $2 per every $100 of valuation.


"I hear a lot of people who say, ‘Get these people who aren't paying a property tax with a wheel tax,'" committee member Pete Speropulos said.


"Well, either way, we've already approved the plans to fund each building project. We've just got to figure out how," Jaynes said. "The commission could say that it would approve a property tax increase, but they're still discussing a wheel tax ... which must be approved by two-thirds of the commission on two separate readings."


In other business, the Budget Committee unanimously approved the county's quarterly reports as well as two requests from the sheriff's department involving no new money.


The first request, which passed unanimously, involved the transfer of $46,000 from the department's reserve fund balance to an expenditure line item for motor vehicles.


The transfer of $1,950 highlighted the second request. These funds will be used for the purchase and installation of an FBI-approved printer, which will be used in the processing of sexual offenders. The request passed unanimously.


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