What Taxpayers Need to Know as Budget Vote Closes In

June 30, 2019 ends the current fiscal year and the Jefferson County Budget Committee has been working for the past several months, along with the Jefferson County Finance Office, to put together a budget document to present to the full County Commission for the fiscal year 2019/2020. Through the course of multiple meetings and a plethora of motions the Committee has decided on what they believe to be the best fiscal course for Jefferson County for the next 12 months. While it can sometimes be difficult to keep up with the stream of motions and debate, it is important that tax payers are aware of the bones of the budget document before decisions become final and the opportunity for public input has passed.

The adjusted tax rate, after the reappraisals, for Jefferson County is $2.13 ( that amount is equal to the current tax rate of $2.35 because of the increase in the worth of a penny). The worth of a penny will be $ 134,000 but for budgeting purposes only 95% of the worth is used which will be $127,000.

Important information to know about the proposed fiscal year 2019/2020 document:

There will be a five cent property tax increase which will bring the property tax rate to $2.18.

The remainder of the money needed to balance the budget ( approximately $434,000) will come from the County General Fund Balance.

The Jefferson County Finance Office expects that there will be some funds not used in the current fiscal year that will roll back into the General Fund on both the County and School side of the budget but the amount will not be known until the close of the current fiscal year.

Fire Department Funding and Rescue Squad Funding remained level from the current fiscal year. Total budget for all fire departments is $656,564. Total budget for Rescue Squad is $71,000. Total proposed budget for CARE ( animal) is $110,000. The only non profit receiving funding beyond those that function as a arm of the government is the Boys and Girls Club which is proposed to receive $68,000 for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Chamber of Commerce is proposed to receive $345,000 in funding to come from the local hotel/motel tax.

Funding was approved for a partial increase of 1 ambulance which will fill the most high volume times. It will require 2 additional employees and there are already four openings unfilled in the department. The funds for those increases will be specifically denoted and held until such positions can be filled.

Jefferson County Department of Education brought in a balanced budget with an increase in capital projects from $200,000 to $500,000. That increase was possible through attrition and some salary adjustments from the current scale that will impact only new position holders.

At the request of the Department of Education, the County will contribute around $250,000 through the movement of 2 pennies from County Capital to School Capital Projects. This is a one time movement and will include any rounding of a penny to go to the schools as well.

The County will take out a four year note out of capital to be paid for from excess in dept service for the purchase of communication equipment for all emergency personnel in the amount of $399,201.

All school system employees will have a 2% raise in addition to step raises.

County employees will have a 2% raise in the proposed budget document.

The Budget Committee will meet later this month to clean up any end of the year general housekeeping and will present the budget proposal to the full County Commission at the end of the month.

Source: Kristen Depew