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Meetings

MINUTES OF THE CRISP COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
CALLED MEETING HELD ON OCTOBER 30, 2012

OPENING CEREMONIES

Chairman Wallace Mathis called the meeting to order with Commissioners A. James Nance, William Culpepper, and Clark Henderson in attendance. Others present were County Administrator Tom Patton, Finance Director Sherrie Leverett, and Clerk Linda Finch. Commissioner Culpepper gave the invocation, and Administrator Patton led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. Chairman Mathis welcomed all in attendance.

SET MILLAGE RATE FOR ADVERTISEMENT

Mrs. Leverett reported that this is part of a process we go through every year where the Tax Assessor provides the digest values to the Tax Commissioner, the Tax Commissioner provides the consolidation sheet numbers to the Finance Department, which allows them to take those numbers and compare them with what revenue it would generate and how it effects the budget the county has already approved. She reported that Mr. Quick, Chief Tax Assessor, has sent a memo giving an update on the appeals, and we have almost $37 million in unsettled appeals with a total number of appeals left of 1653. She stated that we always have some appeals that are unsettled when we set the millage rate, but this year the circumstances are above normal, which will affect the digest and the rollback. The purpose today is for the Commissioners to tentatively approve a millage rate so that she can advertise the Tax Digest and the 5-Year History, which is a requirement that it be posted two weeks before Commissioners can officially adopt the millage. She has prepared three different proposals for their consideration. The first one contains the net millage based on a full inflationary rollback, and if you take an estimate calculated on what we may or may not lose on appeals, we could end up with around a $238,000 shortfall. The reason is because the adjusted net M & 0 digest has the full $37 million in appeal values included in those numbers, so any adjustment off the $37 million does not show on this calculation. Mrs. Leverett stated the second calculation includes no rollback as you would adopt the 11.433 millage rate, which is the same as last year. She stated that when you make an adjustment for the appeals, it would be about a $370,000 increase. On the final page, she advised that she tried to come up with a millage rate that she felt comfortable would generate the same amount of revenue as the 2011 digest, as that is what the budget is based on, with a small amount of growth. This calculation has a partial inflationary rollback, which brings the tax rate down to 10.778, which is still a reduction from the 11.433 that it was last year. The 5-Year history shows that one will give us basically a break even or a $160 loss in the digest. She thinks the third option is probably the safest option as far as the county budget is concerned, even though the millage rate would drop, we would still have to advertise as a tax increase and have three public hearings because we are not taking the full rollback; that is also taking into consideration 50% of the appeals. Mr. Patton advised that there will have to be an adjustment next year based on the appeals that are still outstanding. Mr. Henderson stated that all the Commissioners can do is the best we can do with the figures that we have right now, and as long as we are doing what is best for the citizens of this county and having the funds to operate and provide services to the community, then we have done our job. Mr. Patton agreed that he thought the third option offers the best solution. Mr. Nance stated that the third one does take into account that there will be some adjustments. Mrs. Leverett stated that dropping from 11.433 to 10.778 is almost 2/3rds of a mill of reduction, and our reserves are at a dangerous level. Mr. Patton stated that the millage rate affects other things that people don't think about, like tags, etc. so we need to get a digest set, and we can't continue to pull out of reserves. Mr. Culpepper advised that he thinks the third option is the best we can go with as far as our budget and service to our taxpayers. Mrs. Leverett stated that she will need to set the times of the public hearings as that will have to be advertised with the 5-Year History; she thinks the school board is looking to adopt their millage rate on November 19th, so we can adopt ours on the 19th after the school board's meeting or November 20th. Chairman Mathis asked how bad it would affect us to go back to the 10.749 millage rate it was at a couple of years ago. Mrs. Leverett advised that it was a difference of about $16,000 but it is going to affect you more next year as the more you can pick up this year and feel comfortable with will decrease the chance of the county having to have another increase next year. Mr. Mathis said he would like to see them get back to the 10.749 rate and show the people we are sincere about trying to go back to that millage; we just have a lot going on now that we haven't had before. Mr. Henderson stated that the county has to make a financial decision based on the numbers we have now. Motion was made by Mr. Henderson to approve the Finance Director's recommendation and set the millage rate at 10.778 for advertising, seconded by Mr. Culpepper, motion carried unanimously. Commissioners tentatively set Monday, November 19th at 1:00 p.m. to set the millage. She will schedule the public hearings in between now and November 19th.

ADJOURNMENT

Motion was made by Mr. Culpepper to adjourn the meeting at 9:59 a.m., seconded by Mr. Henderson, motion carried unanimously.

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