County residents will not see a tax increase next year

The Union County Board of Supervisors passed a $37.6 million budget this past week, which will require no tax increase for county residents.

The total millage rate of 116.21 will be the same as for the past two years. Of that, 60.49 mills is for county government while 53.79 mills is for the county school system. There is also a small 0.93-mill levy for fire protection outside the city limits.

The budget represents a three-percent increase over the 2019-2020 total and an increase of about $1.1 million overall.

County Administrator Terry Johnson estimated growth in assessed valuation to be about five percent, affording some leeway in the budget.

Included in the budget is a $50-per-month raise for county employees, which has been the practice for many years in lieu of a more specific three-percent cost-of-living increase.

The budget total is somewhat misleading in that it includes grant project funds that pass through the county financial system rather than representing money from local taxpayers.

Among large capital expenditures that will be paid for or reimbursed are two bridges on County Road 46, a new E-911 emergency telephone system, more improvements to the Martintown North Industrial Park and more renovation for the Union County Courthouse and the old jail.

Smaller but significant capital purchases planned include a new fire truck for the next county department in line at a cost of about $300,000. A new chip spreader for road work will cost about $300,000 and the county may need to purchase a new garbage truck for about $155,000.

Most of the tax money you pay goes for operation of the county government including roads and bridges, and for operation of the county school system. Only about 10 mills out of the 116 are for any other uses.

Nearly half the county’s revenue comes from ad valorem taxes and about one-third is from state sources.

Public works, public safety and general government have the largest budgets within the overall county budget.

The tax you pay is based on the value of the property you own.

One mill of tax brings in $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value (“mill” coming from Latin “mille” for thousand). However, if one can claim Homestead Exemption the assessed value is only 10 percent of the true or market value (commercial property is assessed at 15 percent).

So if you own a $100,000 house with Homestead Exemption, one mill of tax will bring in $10 to the county. Your tax bill for the coming year at 116 mills would be $1,162.10.

Supervisors try to maintain at least a 25-percent surplus because taxes are not collected evenly throughout the year. Collections tend to be higher near the first of the year and lower in the fall so money may need to be in reserve to pay the bills toward the end of the fiscal year.

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