Quitman council approves budget and tax rate

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The Quitman City Council set a tax of 59.15 cents per $100 valuation and adopted a $1,715,825 budget last Thursday. The vote was 4-1 with Alderman J.R. Evans casting the lone dissenting vote and Brad Medlin, Jack Robinson, David Dobbs and Susan Resnik in favor.

According to City Administrator Rodney Kieke, the new tax rate will represent a $161.45 increase on a $100,000 property.  

Mayor Randy Dunn said, “The rate last year of 42.77 cents per $100 valuation was the rate set for maintenance and operations (M&O). With property values up, the M&O rate was able to go down slightly to 41.38 cents. The 17 cent increase will add to last year’s $2.2 million bond for a water transmission line and necessary sewer line improvements. It represents the interest and sinking (debt service) rate” Dunn explained. “There are several things in the 2019-20 FY budget that everyone should be very proud of, the first being the new businesses that opened here in the last few years and the sales tax they are generating. Everyone shopping locally is a blessing to all our local businesses, especially our start up ones. We are anticipating Stitch’n Heaven to make a positive impact as well when they move into their new location. New buildings are being built, others being refurbished and some new homes are popping up. All of this helps to provide extra revenue for our city to do extra things within the budget.”

“This budget includes $20,000 earmarked toward the repairs of the pavilion in Hogg Park,” he said. “We are being blessed with a matching donation of $20,000 from the Wood County Old Settlers’ Reunion Board (WCOSRB) toward the repairs. The initial, rough estimate came in just under $100,000 so the WCOSRB really stepped up to help us out and it is very much appreciated!” Dunn noted.

Dunn had praise for employees. “We always want to take care of our employees and this year we included a 3% raise across the board. We have great employees who are dedicated to the citizens of Quitman and we are blessed to have them,” Dunn added. “I am proud of our council, department heads and our administrative staff for the hard work on this budget. Rodney Kieke, city secretary/administrator did a great job directing the process.”

In other action, the council approved the removal of Kieke from probationary status to permanent full-time. “This is something we have discussed. This should have already been done. We have let it linger and I apologize for that,” Dunn said. The vote was unanimous after a motion by Robinson and a second by Medlin.

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