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No one attends budget, tax rate hearing

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Aside from a couple of elected county officials, the Hopkins County Commissioners Courtroom was full of empty seats for public hearings on the county's proposed tax rate and budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
    Although the tax rate will not change from the 56-cents per $100 rate that has been in place for a number of years, the rate will generate more revenue due to a 2.9 percent increase in overall property values.
    “The tax rate itself, we are leaving the same, which is 56 cents” County Judge Chris Brown said. “We're looking at a total of almost $7.5 million income in property tax and sales tax.”
    The same tax rate will bring in new revenue, a large part from sales tax and from new construction, and is anticipated to give the county the ability to make the improvements “we are wanting to make this year,” Brown said.
    “A lot of it goes to the normal stuff,” the judge said. “Building and liability insurance, increased health care insurance, we are doing a 2 percent across-the-board pay increase for the employees and a large percentage of that portion [of new money] is going toward jail planning. Whether we approve to build or we don't approve to build, we've got some money set aside to do what we are going to have to do in the future.”
    The overall budget for the county for the new financial year was also presented in public hearing.
    “The total budget is going to be, roughly, $15.3 million, that's with all the special funds that are from fees that can only go to funds the state allows those office holders to spend it on,” the county judge explained. ““Our general fund, which includes most of our spending plus our road and bridge and our debt service, is going to be roughly $13.2 million. Our general, normal operating fund by itself is about $8.9 million.”
    County commissioners will be meeting again next Monday at 9 a.m. to consider giving final approval to and adoption of the proposed tax rate and budget.




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