The July meeting of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners began after a roll call indicated all were present except Second District Commissioner Nancy Hyder. The night’s work began with Resolution 07-2012-1. This resolution fixed the tax levy in Cumberland County for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012 as follows:
General Fund Tax Rate $0.5800
General Purpose School Fund Tax Rate $0.5900
Solid Waste/Sanitation Fund Tax Rate $0.1325
General Debt Service Fund Tax Rate $0.1950
Total combined property tax rate $1.4975
As you may already know, this is the final year in the Cumberland County reappraisal cycle. After each five year cycle is completed, the State of Tennessee gives the County the new certified property tax rate. By law, if overall property values increase, the State provides a certified property tax rate that is lower than the existing rate. If property values have decreased, the State provides a new certified rate that is higher than the existing rate. In this way, the result of the new certified rate should be little to no change in individual property tax bills. The total appraised assets declined overall in Cumberland County, with a decrease to most residential properties, and increases in unimproved land and commercial property. The new certified tax rate of $1.4975 is higher than last year’s appropriation of $1.425 due to the decrease in real property values in Cumberland County. The new rate was passed in a unanimous 16-0 vote.
Resolution 07-2012-2 was next on the agenda. This resolution was for approval of the actual appropriations for the various funds, departments, institutions, offices and agencies of Cumberland County for the year beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2013. This year’s budget is approximately $90,000,000 including $57,000,000 to the Board of Education, $21,000,000 to the General Fund, $6,000,000 to Debt Service and $3,000,000 to the Highway Department. As was the case last year, the General Fund and Debt Service Fund are both balanced using fund balance money. Less money is being pulled from the General Fund Balance, $1,061,411, than from last year’s budget. Of this amount, several hundred thousand is in capital, non-recurring expenses meaning the budget is only a small amount out of balance. The Debt Service Fund Balance has $2,046,543 being pulled to balance the Debt Service Fund. This is about $200,000 less than last year, but still too much in my opinion. As the year progresses, loans totaling approximately $600,000 in payments will roll off of this fund. That will help reduce the amount of deficit, but this is an issue that will have to be addressed next year. My hope is that we will be able to move money from other funds and use growth money to balance these funds. In the end, the vote for the budget was 16-0.
Other items approved on the night included lease agreements with the Cumberland County Fair Association, Downtown Crossville Incorporated, and the Cumberland County Red Cross. More properties were moved back onto the County tax rolls when the resolutions were accepted to sell properties on the delinquent tax rolls to Doris Tollett and Michael Dandrea. Some of the delinquent tax properties have been off the tax rolls for ten years, so it is good to get these properties back on the tax rolls.
I have requested a copy of the finalized budget in PDF form from the Finance Department. Look for it in the next few days on my website, http://allenfoster.net, on the Documents of Interest page.
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