Supervisors eye millage rate increase
By Dwayne Bremer
Aug 8, 2014, 19:29
The Hancock County Board of Supervisors held two rounds of budget discussions this week and will continue talks at a workshop at 8 a.m. Monday.
Among the topics discussed so far are raises for county employees and a possible millage increase.
"We have talked about a lot of things, but we have not made any decisions yet," board Vice-President Steve Seymour said Friday. "It is just that time of year and we are trying to figure out what will be best for the county."
Last year, supervisors cut several departments' budgets, which resulted in a few part-time employees being laid-off.
The county levied 41.46 mils last year. This year, the value of a mil is up slightly from $453,000 to approximately $460,000.
A mil is determined by a formula which includes property tax, auto tax, taxes on personal property such as RVs, and utilities.
County taxpayers have not seen a millage increase in at least two decades. A few years, supervisors have lowered millage to offset the rise in a mil's value.
During budget discussions in 2013, supervisors said that it was likely a millage increase would be necessary for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
District Five Supervisor Tony Wayne Ladner said Friday that he has yet to decide on how he will vote.
"We have talked about a lot of things, including a millage increase," Ladner said. "I just want to look at the firm numbers before I make a decision. We should know more on Monday."
Seymour said he would like to give county employees a raise if possible.
The last employee raise was in 2010.
"We have a great group of dedicated employees and I would like to do something for them," he said. Seymour said that before supervisors consider a millage increase, he wants to make sure county government is as streamlined as possible.
"We are looking at some things we can cut and do better," he said. "I just want to make sure we do not put a 'band-aid' fix on anything. We need to ensure the stability of the county for years to come."
Monday's workshop will begin at 8 a.m. at the government annex complex on Highway 90.
State law requires that governmental entities have their budgets in place by Sept. 15.
Seymour said he wanted to make sure people understand that the millage increase is only a discussion right now.
"We talk about these things every year," he said. "We have not taken a vote yet."