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County eyes two mill property tax increase, borrows more money

The Lamar County commission voted 3-1 July 27 to advertise and hold hearings on a proposal to raise its millage rate by two mills. It also voted unanimously to borrow another $950,000, running its debt total to $2.45 million About 275 people packed the main courtroom at the Lamar County courthouse for the hearing at which the decision was made. Many were there to argue against further cuts in services. Others were there to try to prevent the entire financial burden of those services falling on the backs – and wallets – of property owners. When the smoke cleared, continued services had carried the day. Three speakers got great responses from the assembled crowd. They were: Henry L. Hand Sr.: “I will balance your damn budget in 12 hours. You’ve got programs in the name of politicians. You’ve got too many people on the payroll. It’s just pitiful. Get this damn budget balanced. It is your job. Just do it.” Hand said he did not know of the meeting until he read about it in The Herald-Gazette. Marty Sewell: “What about the people who pay no taxes at all but eat up all the services? Why are 30% of the people carrying 100% of the load? I’ve had to change my way of living. Mr. Henry Hand had to change his way of living. The county has to change its way of living. You’ve got to cut at the top. Good growth is good. Now your subdivisions have gone to Section 8 housing. Growth for the sake of growth is bad because you get the bottom of the barrel.” Commissioner Nancy Thrash: “When the government has problems it seems like they want to reach into the pockets of the taxpayers. I think we have more housekeeping we can do.” Thrash cast the lone vote against pursuing the millage hike. The motion to increase the line of credit passed unanimously as did a move to move the commission meeting to the third Tuesday of the month to avoid confliciting with the school board meeting and allow citizens to attend each.

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