I am always happy to get the Budget process behind us and that is especially true this year. In addition to the work normally associated with it, we had a new certified property tax rate to consider, based on appraisals that reflected higher property values in Lawrence County.

Commissioners approved the state’s recommended rate of $2.01 per $100 of appraised property value, a decrease designed to bring in the same amount of revenue (approximately $20 million) as $2.95 did under 2016’s lower appraisals.

Reducing the property tax more than $2.01 - when each penny represents $100,000 in revenue - would have threatened the county services you depend on. Adopting the state certified rate was the responsible thing to do, and I thank Commissioners for supporting it.

Because some residents will see their property tax increase because of higher property values, the Commission also approved an additional $50 discount for veterans and those who meet income guidelines. This brings the total local discount to $100; the state also provides low-income persons and veterans a credit on property taxes.

I am especially proud in this last year as your County Executive that we have submitted our approved budget to the state prior to the June 30th deadline for the sixth year in a row. 2016 was the first time that was achieved since 1996.

As I explained in the past, there are very good reasons why it’s important to meet the state’s deadline.

*Without a new budget when the new year begins July 1, county government continues to operate on the spending plan established for the previous year. Continuing budgets only cover basic operating expenses. Other purchases have to be put off, even if the Highway Department needs a new piece of equipment, or an office copier breaks down. Now, necessary purchases can be made in a timely manner, which means the county operates more smoothly and effectively for you.

*Until the tax rate is set, tax bills cannot be sent out and revenues don’t come in. You may have heard the term “tax anticipation notes” in the past, which means

we borrow money from other funds within the county to cover general operating expenses.

*Because the budget was approved on time, property tax bills can be sent out in a timely manner and with your payments, county government can begin operating on the new year’s revenues. It’s a much better way to do business.

Thanks so much to all who put in the work necessary for the 2022-23 budget. It is a responsible, common sense plan that takes care of our obligations and allows us to focus on present and future needs.

 

TO SEE A COPY of the 2022-2023 County Budget go to the home page of this website and click on the "Government" tab where it is available under the "Open Records" column.