At the start of the Clarke County Board of Supervisors meeting 9 a.m. Monday, the board unanimously voted to adopt the fiscal year 2021-22 budget after a public hearing regarding the budget was held. During the hearing, no public comment was made, so the hearing was quickly closed.
With new state regulations, there will be a second public hearing set for 10 a.m. March 29 regarding the county’s 2021-22 budget. Before this second hearing, the supervisors wanted to explain how a property tax levy works and what the word “maximum” means in that context.
“We work through all the budgets and see what it’s going to take for us to operate,” said supervisor Dean Robins. “Now that we’ve adopted that we cannot go over that number, it’s the maximum that we can levy.”
The County is running on less money as some sources of income have been reevaluated and their taxable valuation has dropped dramatically.
Two years ago Homestead Assisted Living changed from being considered multi-residential to residential causing their taxable valuation to drop by $1.2 million and affects the current budget.
“That means that’s $1.2 million we’re currently not getting,” said Supervisor Austin Taylor.
This year the County is running off less money and the prices of materials have gone up due to the pandemic. Projects must still be done though.
“We made some cuts in different areas. We had departments come in and write a list of wants and needs,” said Robins. “Projects have got to be done. The needs we are still going to be maintained such as bridges and other important things.”
“Jan White did a great job as auditor making it as low as she could. She just worked and worked and worked,” said Supervisor Larry Keller. “We called departments in and Supervisor’s didn’t take a raise this year. We’ve cut it just as tight as we can cut it but you’ve still got to have enough to make the operation run.”
Over the last five years the levy has continually gotten lower. The word maximum tends to confuse people and the Supervisors want to show residents clearly that the maximum levy is only showing how much property taxes need to be in order to continue operations in the county and perform necessary projects.