Tax rate increase proposed, 2% raise given

County Treasurer Jeannie Keeney (right) was sworn in Monday morning by County Judge Linda Grant.
Courtesy photo

A proposed tax rate increase has been suggested by Freestone County Judge Linda Grant and was approved by commissioners during budget talks Wednesday, July 25. An increase of two cents is proposed, which would bring the tax rate to 0.3594 per $100 valuation if passed. Each one cent the tax rate is raised equals $235,000.

The county received preliminary values in April from the Freestone Central Appraisal District (FCAD), which reported a possible 6.74 percent decrease in taxable value; however, Judge Grant said the certified values ended up being “not that much.”

Grant proposed the rollback rate – the maximum rate allowed by law without voter approval – is 0.367335. The court announced the date to vote on the tax rate during the Aug. 1 meeting.

Grant said she is asking the court to consider a rate that’s two cents higher to ensure “a little flexibility” within the budget, especially because of the upcoming capital murder trial of Dabrett Black.

“We need to consider the capital murder trial cost,” said Grant. “If it goes into next year we won’t have nearly enough money budgeted.”

After much deliberation, the court also approved a 2 percent raise for all county employees. A 2 percent raise will cost taxpayers $100,000 per year.

“Certainly doesn’t bring us up to what everybody out of the county is paying, but it does show them [employees] that we do care and encourages them to stay with us,” said Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Daniels, who initiated the motion for raises.

Although in the end all commissioners unanimously agreed on the raise, Pct. 2 Commissioner Craig Oakes and Pct. 4 Commissioner Clyde Ridge were hesitant.

 

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