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County holds line on millage; no increase

By Kay S. Pedrotti The Lamar County board of commissioners voted at a special called meeting July 28 to advertise keeping the millage rate at 13.157 for county taxes, with a possibility of no rollback that allows for increased revenue in the 2020 digest. The commission will hold three public hearings at the courthouse for citizen input on the decision: Aug. 11 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. County administrator Sean Townsend, who collected and reported revenue and tax figures, assured the board that not having a rollback to 12.830 mills would allow more income for the county, without substantially changing the actual property tax for homeowners and others. ’We have to forecast that we will have enough money coming in next year to be able to run the county, allow for unexpected emergencies and help pay the TAN down,’ he said. The ‘tax anticipation note’ is an amount borrowed with interest to assure continuing function before taxes are actually collected in November of each year. The current TAN was not used until May of 2020, he added. Tax assessor Jeanie Haddock reported that property revaluations in the northwest part of the county have been completed; most will reflect an increase in property taxes per household. Taxes will not change if a homeowner’s property has not yet been revalued. Revaluations will start soon in other areas of the county, providing the most current information for the ‘tax digest,’ or total value of all Lamar County properties. Lamar fire chief Douglas Matthews brought figures on what funds would be needed to bring the fire department enough personnel to reduce substantially the ‘wait time’ for fire personnel after receiving calls to respond to house or business fires and other emergency situations. There are presently only three paid firefighters, including the chief, and the rest are volunteers. Eventually hiring another six firefighters would be a goal that could be reached within a reasonable time, he said.

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