Commissioners put off decision until Wednesday

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 06:13 PM.

Eliminating county employees is one thing the county can do to free up money for the budget, Bush said, and several positions are being considered for chopping, including that of a county manager and a human resources director.

“We don’t want to send the employees into a panic, and nothing has been decided,” Bush said. “We’re just looking at every possibility.”

The county is also facing “unfunded mandates,” Bush said, including increases in employee health care premiums and an additional $227,000 the county will be required to pay into the county employee retirement pension. “There’s no fluff left in this budget.”

The one possibility the county commissioners weren’t willing to look at, however, was the recommendation by Cook that they increase the millage rate to 9.23 from the current 8.91.

Commissioner Todd Abbott said that he would not support raising taxes. He said the county should change the homestead tax exemption so that it applies to not the first $25,000 of property value, but to the second $25,000. “Right now, about 30 percent of the county residents pay 80 percent of the property taxes,” Abbott said.

County Attorney Jeff Goodman said that if the commissioners desired, he could research the matter and bring the information back to the board in August.

However, that would not help Cook have a millage rate by Aug. 4.



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