Washington County budget contains no tax increase

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Property owners shouldn’t be feeling the pinch of a Washington County tax increase in 2014 because the board of commissioners expects to adopt its $80.9 million general fund budget for 2014 today while maintaining a levy of 24.9 mills.

“There will be no tax increase,” Commission Chairman Larry Maggi said Wednesday morning after the commissioners’ agenda meeting.

County property taxes are expected to generate $36.9 million, or 47.08 percent of the budget. More than 29 percent of the budget comes from other government sources, while departmental fees and earnings account for 13.35 percent. Revenue from miscellaneous sources totals more than $8 million or 10.26 percent.

Additional revenue comes from licenses and permits, fines and forfeitures and miscellaneous sources, which includes $3 million in Act 13 unconventional gas well impact fees and approximately $2.5 million in lease royalties.

The county expects to begin the year with a balance of $4.5 million.

The biggest chunk of the county budget, 28.43 percent, or slightly more than $28.4 million, pays for social services, or what are also known as human services, such as placement of children found by the courts to be dependent; services offered to senior citizens, veterans and to those who need behavioral health and developmental services, formerly known as mental health and mental retardation.

Public safety, which includes the operation of the county jail and booking center, and supervision of juveniles and adults placed on probation or ordered to perform community service, accounts for $17.8 million or 22 percent of the general fund budget.

A home in Washington County with a 1981 market value of $100,000 has an assessed value of $25,000 on which the property owner would annually be paying county tax of $622.50, not including early payment discount or late payment penalty.

The Washington and McGuffey school districts went to court to force the county to conduct its first reassessment in more than 30 years, which is now in the early stages.

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