Your Lincoln County property taxes are going up. While no final decision has been made, three of the five County Commissioners expressed agreement with an increase at their budget workshop on Friday (April 9th). County Manager Kelly Atkins gave commissioners multiple choices--ranging from no tax increase to as much as a four-cents hike in the tax rate.
The problem is that the County, based on those things the commissioners had indicated they wanted to fund in the fiscal 2022 budget, faces a shortfall when expected revenues are compared to the cost of funding operational expenses and capital projects that have been approved. To meet that shortfall, Atkins suggested a two-cents per hundred dollars valuation increase in the county tax rate--from .599 to .619. That, plus using up to two million dollars from the County's fund balance and shifting some funds from a reserve fund to the general fund will balance the budget.
Three of the five commissioners said they would be OK with the two-cents increase. Commissioners Carrol Mitchem and Bud Cesena wanted no tax increase. Commissioner Milton Sigmon said he favored an increase of three cents since in the long term the money would be needed, and not going to three cents more now might mean another increase in a year or two. Sigmon noted that the difference in the increased property taxes a homeowner with a half million dollar home would pay would only be about $50 more with the three cents increase compared to two cents. Commissioner Cathy Davis agreed. But Commissioner Anita McCall said she didn't want to further burder taxpayers. She said, however, that she would go along with a two cents increase.
While nothing in final in the budget, the workshops have provided direction for Atkins, who will give commissioners a budget proposal at their May meeting. A public hearing will then be held at the first Monday in June meeting and the budget will be finalized.
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