Committee has officeholders search own budgets for tax notice funds

10:27 am | September 10, 2013

After a tumultuous budget cycle, which resulted in an 18-cent hike in Carter County’s property tax rate, the county’s Budget Committee decided to take the month of August off.

Photo by Danny DavisCommission Chairman Tom Bowers, who sits on the county's Budget Committee, smiles during the committee's meeting Monday night. Bowers asked that the county trustee and assessor of property find money within their own budgets to pay for tax notices, instead of relying on money from the county's General Fund.

Photo by Danny Davis
Commission Chairman Tom Bowers, who sits on the county’s Budget Committee, smiles during the committee’s meeting Monday night. Bowers asked that the county trustee and assessor of property find money within their own budgets to pay for tax notices, instead of relying on money from the county’s General Fund.

When it reconvened in September, however, familiar issues greeted committee members.

On Monday night, Assessor of Property Ronnie Taylor and County Trustee Randal Lewis requested money from the county’s General Fund for the purchase and mailing of tax notices for the county’s property owners.

“Ronnie and I feel that we do need to order tax notices, have them printed and send them out to taxpayers,” Lewis said. “We feel they do deserve that, even though it’s not mandatory or a law. We are here to ask for the funds to be able to do that.”

Before this year’s budget was adopted, on July 2, Lewis approached the Budget Committee to ask them to reconsider making cuts to his budget, so that he could be better prepared to pay for the printing and mailing of the notices. Nine days later, Lewis and Taylor approached the county’s Financial Management Committee to make the same request.

On Monday, more than two months later, Lewis and Taylor again requested the committee’s aid, with Taylor requesting $9,500 and Lewis requesting $7,847.63.

Some commissioners were skeptical, however, that the two officeholders could not find funds within their budgets. At the request of Commissioner Lawrence Hodge, Lewis informed the committee that, at the end of the last fiscal year, his office turned in $19,480.86.

“That won’t get those notices?” Hodge asked.

Lewis replied that he was reluctant to rely on unused funds, because his expenditures could vary from year-to-year.

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