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Wise supervisors seeking to close projected budget gap

April 10th, 2014 11:58 pm by Stephen Igo

Wise supervisors seeking to close projected budget gap

WISE — The Wise County Board of Supervisors on Thursday endorsed a strategy to restructure school debt in order to deal with a projected budget deficit for next fiscal year, and were poised to make incremental increases in the real estate and personal property tax base.

The board seemed inclined prior to the newspaper's deadline on Thursday to adopt a 3 cent increase in the real estate tax, and 10 cents on personal property (most particularly, a motor vehicle wheel tax) in order to deal with a budget deficit largely created by a current fiscal year plunge in coal severance taxes.

The county finance administrator projected the tax increases would raise $975,000 annually on the real estate increase and $400,000 on the personal property increase. The new tax rates would go from 57 cents per $100 valuation to 60 cents on real estate, and the current $1.49 per $100 assessed value on personal property to $1.59 under the recommendations by Cox on Thursday.

Prior to the pending vote on the tax increase recommendations, the board voted 8-0 to approve a course of action recommended by the county's finance consultants, Davenport and Sands Anderson, to restructure about $13 million of $67 million in school debt in order to free up at least $1.5 million annually.

Coupled with the tax increases, the budget strategies under consideration would enable the county to deal with a projected $2.7 million deficit for next fiscal year, or down to about $742,000 once the $1.5 million debt restructuring is completed, expected in about two weeks, along with a range of other budget-cutting measures.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Friday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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