Tax hike proposed by county

Two citizens showed up for the first public hearing to discuss adopting Putnam County’s 2018 millage rate Aug. 31 and commissioners met with an empty house at the second hearing later that evening.

Based on a proposed $18,887,288 budget, the Putnam County Board of Commissioners recently announced an increase in the property taxes it will levy this year by 1.73 percent above the rollback millage rate for the incorporated area and 5.12 percent above the rollback millage rate for the unincorporated area. 

If those rates are adopted at the final public hearing on Sept. 8, the millage rate for the incorporated area will be 8.999 mills, an increase from last year of .153 mill and 8.701 mills for the unincorporated area, an increase of .424 mills. 

Speaking during the public comment session, former Commissioner Billy Webster challenged the BOC to focus on cutting back their spending instead of raising millage rates. Webster said looking back over totals in 2011 versus 2016, expenditures went up an average of .8 percent per year. He also noted that from 2016 through 2018, they went from .8 percent per year to about 4 percent. 

“The expenditures are going up and the revenues are going down,” said Webster. “It seems like we ought to be concentrating an equal amount of time on looking at reducing expenditures as well as the amount of time we are spending on raising the millage rate and revenue.”

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