UNION COUNTY — Some homeowners could see their county property tax increase by at least $24 due an increase in the county tax millage of 6 mills or more.
The Union County budget for fiscal 2013-2014 projects expenditures and revenues totaling $12,757,412 and includes what Supervisor Tommy Sinclair says will be a “6-plus mills” increase in the county operations tax millage. Sinclair said that without the millage increase — the county’s first since 2007 — the budget would have a deficit of approximately $360,000. He said that state law requires local governments to produce a balanced budget and so the planned tax increase is not only necessary to balance the budget but also to keep the county in compliance with the law.
When the county began its budget deliberations earlier this year, the projected deficit stood at approximately $1.35 million and Sinclair said at the time that if cuts in spending were not enough to balance the budget a millage increase would be required. Sinclair said the deficit was due to a combination of reductions in revenue from fee-in-lieu of taxes agreements with industry due to equipment depreciation; increased costs including the implementation of the new, federally-mandated narrowband radio communication system; and reductions in federal and state funding.
During its budget deliberations, Union County Council worked to reduce spending in the proposed budget, including reducing the hours of operation at the county’s recycling centers which is projected to save the county $145,000 a year. While the reductions reduced the projected deficit they did not completely eliminated it and so council included the tax increase in the 2013-2014 budget which received final approval this past week.
The millage increase, however, has not been levied and Sinclair said it will not be until the value of a county tax mill is determined in September. He said that once that’s done council will know exactly how many mills will be required to balance the budget and will then levy the appropriate increase in the county’s operating tax millage which currently stands at 104.2 mills.
Currently, the property tax on an owner-occupied home valued at $100,000 is $416.80. A six-mill increase in the county operating millage would increase that to $440.80.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.