Saturday, April 16, 2011

What does $.74 actually mean?

I am sure that many of you saw this story in the Robertson County Times (RCT) this past week.
 This is sobering.
Robertson County taxpayers could be looking at $9,278,000, or a 74-cent increase in property taxes to balance the 2011/2012 county budget. This reality was absorbed by the county budget committee at its meeting last week as members met to begin considering a workable budget for the coming fiscal year.
Their task must take into consideration the debt service needs of schools, highways and the general fund, which total more than $17 million altogether.
Broken down, county schools have the highest proportion of debt, with $12.1 million required to pay for recent school construction. The recently completed county jail’s cost is reflected in the $4.1 million general fund debt, and county highways require servicing a debt of $807,100.
In all, committee members have little option but to require the revenue increase from taxpayers, or find ways, with the help of county department heads, to pare back on operational and equipment expenses in order to alleviate the 74-cent sticker-shock.
This is the portion that I would like to highlight. Many times you here those close to county government articulate this in “government-speak” what the number of “pennies” actually means. Of course, it is an easy way to speak of the issue from commissioner-to-commissioner; yet, many folks do not know what the bottom line means for them. This story breaks that down for those outside of government.
According to Robertson County Finance Director Jody Stewart, that 74 cents translates into an approximate $185 tax increase for an average $100,000 home, or a 28 percent increase. The current tax for Robertson County rate is $2.61 per $100 of assessed value. If increased by 74 cents, the Robertson County taxpayers would be paying $3.35 per $100.
In the coming weeks, I hope to illustrate to you a county-by-county analysis of property tax rates to dispel some rumors.
Committee members will convene again this week, as they will for the next several months, as they grapple with the combined realities of climbing expenses versus revenue in their task of crafting a workable budget to present to the full commission.


  1. Thank you Mr Garner for communicating this important information. Considering that the school system receives $12.1 Million of the counties budget and the NOI from certain county schools are low grades, I think the solution to helping the schools succeed is not more money, based on what we heard at the School Board/Springfield meeting the other night.

    We need to support and hold accountable our school board to lead the principals and teachers to success with out asking for more money.

  2. EXCELLENT points Chris. Part of the meeting of last Tuesday dealt with the possibilities of new construction of schools. I am not totally convinced that this is the right time to do this. There is no other county our size that has as many school buildings that we have. Our School Board has had a pretty aggressive remodel/construction plan the last 5 years. We may have to stop, take a deep breath and reconsider. Can we continue to build and accumulate large debt?

  3. Balancing a government budget always destroys individuals' budgets. I'm not getting pay raises (for several years), but everything else is increasing. They should be happy with what they are getting now and learn to live within their means. If they were to reappraise property according to sales, they would be getting a lot less in property tax revenue. I know that my tax appraisal is much higher than for what I could sell my property.

  4. We are literally taxed to the extreme, and for what?? A jail that cost us millions, that was going to "make money" by housing federal prisoners? What a JOKE. Our Springfield schools have been totally left out when it comes to improvements,while the County schools seem to get everything. I believe that EVERYONE should learn to live within their means..that is what sensible people do!

  5. Just remember that any Government big enough to give you everything that you want,is big enough to take away everything that you have.The Robertson county government should be held responsible and not the tax paying people of Robertson county for the increase of taxes,there is a lot of wasted money spent in this county,it's time for the elected officials to start representing the people of Robertson county and make the right move to cut wasted spending and not put the burden on the tax payers.