County budget approved with lower tax rate

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Wood County Commissioners unanimously adopted the 2020 budget with a tax levy of 55.5 cents per $100 valuation which will amount to a $24.90 yearly savings on a $100,000 home.

This tax rate will raise more taxes than last year’s rate of 57.99 cents. The budget is set at $26,435,139. 

There are some one time expenditures including $1.3 million for the new building just southwest of the courthouse; $108,000 for deputy patrol vehicles, $50,000 for a corrections facility renovations feasibility study, $755,800 for additional road and bridge equipment,  $800,000 for hot mix asphalt for road and bridge and $300,000 in contingency legal fees.

The budget includes four new positions including an assistant district attorney, courthouse security officer, environmental officer and a dispatcher for the sheriff’s department.  Commissioners decided to add an attorney to the district attorney’s office instead of contracting for the need. They will look at it next year and re-evaluate the position.

The budget calls for all employees, including elected officials, to receive a five percent pay increase, and all eligible employees, including elected officials, will receive $80 incremental longevity pay for an additional year of service.

The budget will raise more total property taxes than last year’s by $1,076,992, or a 7.76 percent increase, and of that amount, $259,257 is tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year.

County Tax Assessor Collector Carol Taylor explained, “The overall taxable values are up in Wood County this year, which makes the effective rate lower. The effective rate is the rate that compares with the previous year’s rate and will bring in the same revenue or tax dollars as the previous year. So, when values are up, effective rates go down. This year the values were up a lot, mostly it’s new value or value never on the tax roll before.

“However, even though technically, going over the effective rate is raising taxes increasing the amount of tax dollars, most homeowners’ county taxes will be less because the tax rate is lower than last year’s. If their value stayed the same as last year, then because the tax rate is lower than last year’s, then their county taxes will be less. If they are over 65, their taxes will not increase. The more people paying, it’s less per person.”

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