County Commission approves 15-cent tax rate increase

Published 11:03 pm Friday, June 30, 2023

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Star Correspondent
The Carter County Commission has approved a 15-cent tax rate increase for the 2023-2024 budget.
Commissioners met June 30 to approve the new budget. The county is required to pass a new budget prior to the beginning of each fiscal year, according to the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.
The commission approved a tax rate of $2.18 per $100 of taxable property, an increase of 15 cents. The tax rate was $2.03 per $100 of taxable property.
Two commissioners, Gary Kemp and Kelly Collins, voted against the increase. Commissioner Avery Wynn was absent from the meeting.
Twenty-one commissioners, including Budget Committee Chairman Aaron Frazier, who made the original motion, voted in favor of the increased tax rate and budget.
Frazier, who has led months of budget negotiations and hearings, commended Finance Director Carolyn Watson and her department for assisting with the budget. He called the department’s employees “rock stars.”
“This is the first time the county has made the deadline,” Frazier said.
In years past, the county has typically missed the deadline, sometimes by months.
Commissioner Nancy Brown reiterated Frazier’s gratitude to the finance department, as well as the members of the Budget Committee.
“This was a tough budget,” Brown said.
Prior to the vote, the Budget Committee held a public hearing on the budget, but no citizens commented.
The new budget covers raises that the commission approved in late 2022 for the employees of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office. Employees in the jail, administration and elsewhere in the department received a $5 raise.
The Sheriff’s Office had been struggling with understaffing at the jail and on the road prior to the pay raise vote. Since then, Sheriff Mike Fraley said he has been able to fill many of the vacant positions.
In addition to the Sheriff’s Office raises, the budget also includes a $2.50 per hour raise for all other county employees, plus money to cover rising costs for emergency services and insurance.
The $2.18 tax rate covers $1.0160 for the general fund, $0.0096 for the solid waste fund, $0.1057 for the highway and public works fund, $0.1335 for general debt services and $0.0869 for the county general purpose school fund.

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