Warren commissioners keep property tax rate flat

Jun. 30, 2014 @ 05:24 PM

WARRENTON — In a special called meeting June 25, the Warren County Board of Commissioners adopted a budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The good news for property owners is that the current ad valorem tax rate of 66 cents per $100 valuation will be maintained in the coming year.

The largest items in the $30,481,434 general fund budget are:

• $5.6 million for the Department of Social Services administration, public assistance, child support and local funds;

• $5 million for Warren County Schools; and

• $3 million for the Warren County Health Department.

Emergency Medical Services is slated to receive nearly $2.7 million while the Warren County Sheriff’s Office will receive nearly $2.6 million.

The budget provides funding to complete the emergency radio system, replace three sheriff’s department patrol vehicles, purchase an ambulance and other equipment for EMS and provide a 1 percent cost-of-living increase for county employees.

The budget anticipates a 4 percent increase in revenue from ad valorem taxes and a 9-percent increase in sales tax revenue.

About $3.1 million will be appropriated from the undesignated fund balance to balance the budget.

Easing the stress on the budget were continued improvement in the overall economy, 4 percent growth in the county’s tax base, an increase in the collection rate of ad valorem taxes, and minimal increases in medical and dental insurance for county employees.

These factors helped offset the negative effects of reductions in state and federal funding and uncertainty about proposed state and federal legislation.

Although the commissioners did not increase fees in the solid waste fund budget, they approved several increases in the water budget, including:

• A 50 cent increase per 1,000 gallons used in all districts;

• An increase from $19 to $20 in the flat rate in District 3, Northampton;

• An increase from $10 to $12 in the fixed flat rate for non-connections, where a tap is in place but not drawing water; and

• A one-time, non-refundable activation fee of $25 for new accounts.

These changes were necessitated by a 5 percent increase in water purchase and other costs of operating the water utility.

The commissioners also adopted an amendment to the fiscal year 2013-2014 Warren County budget ordinance to close out the current budget year.

At the request of Longbridge Volunteer Fire Chief Bruce Dunlevy, the board voted to waive the $25 permit fee for variance from the provisions of the Warren County noise pollution ordinance for the Independence Day fireworks display on July 5 at South Shore Realty on Lake Gaston.

 

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.