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Supes To Talk Budget In Work Session Tonight

Halifax County Supervisors will talk money when the board holds a work session to discuss the county budget tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the second floor conference room of the Mary Bethune Complex in Halifax. County finance committee members got a taste of the severity of the upcoming budget process in early February when they met to offer Finance Director Stephanie Jackson guidelines as she worked to prepare the proposed 2010-2011 fiscal year budget.

At that committee meeting, finance committee members J. T. Davis, Tom West and Chairman Doug Bowman agreed to ask county department heads to absorb all state reductions that result as state legislators make cuts to close the $2 billion gap in the state budget.

Each department is expected to share in the pain, finance committee members agreed.

In addition, outside agencies that receive county funding are being asked to reduce their budgets by 5 percent under their current budgets, and the finance committee instructed Jackson to include level funding of $13 million in the upcoming budget for the county school system.

This past year the county funded $13,256,000 in local monies to the school system that, according to Bowman, is 139 percent, well-over what’s required by the department of education.

Representatives from outside agencies and county departments may have an opportunity to address their specific budget requests at tonight’s work session, according to County Administrator George Nester.

In preparing the budget, Jackson said she used tax rates of 43 cents for real estate, $3.60 for personal property, and $1.26 for machinery and tools tax.
Although the current real estate rate is 44 cents per $100 value, the finance director said the new assessment figures required the rate to be lowered to 43 cents unless supervisors advertise an increase in taxes.

Based on current assessments and figuring in the estimated $80,000 impact of agricultural forestal districts (AFDs), the impact of raising any tax by one cent would yield the following results:

• Real estate tax increase of one cent would generate approximately $373,500;

• Personal property tax increase of one cent would generate approximately $18,750; and

• Machinery and tools tax increase of one cent would generate approximately $11,200.

Also as part of future budget considerations, the finance director explained state legislators have discussed eliminating the car tax relief payment to localities that would amount to $1.5 million less the county would receive.
Supervisors will begin their budget deliberations tonight at 6:30 p.m.