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State Hinders Local Municipalities Budgeting and Taxation Ability

It is a complicated formula devised by the state, but local municipalities and counties are seeing less money coming from property tax levies thanks to legislation passed last year called House File 718. The state sets limits on how high the taxes can be levied and even though property values are going up, the amount in tax dollars based on those values is going down. Kanawha Mayor Gloria Sobek says she is seeing this problem at a time when expenses for the city are going up.

This becomes concerning for city clerks and administrators who must establish a budget for the upcoming fiscal year but work with less money due to state mandated regulations.

Britt City Clerk Elizabeth Ibarra explained that emergency service first responders suffer as a result of the state regulations.

The state mandated changes come at a time when the fire department needs to re-outfit their firemen with helmets, coats, boots, gloves, and safety gear at a cost of over $5,000 per man. The police department also needs equipment according to Ibarra.

According to Forest City Administrator Daisy Huffman, Forest City is down $153,793 due to the new commercial roll back.

Garner City Administrator Jim Collins stated that while it hasn’t really affected the Garner budget, how the tax is arrived at is a different story.

Collins stated that when the taxes are calculated in this manner, that reduces the valuation on which property taxes are applied against.

State Senator Dennis Guth of Klemme explained that there were some counties who were making somewhat dramatic increases in property tax rates which prompted the legislation.

State Representative Henry Stone of Forest City is engaged in writing legislation to correct portions of House File 718.

Stone is working with local county auditors and city officials to amend House File 718 to make it more workable and effective.








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