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Growth means county will lower tax rate and still get 4 percent revenue increase

Nelson Fiscal Court.

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019 — Nelson Fiscal Court took the first step to set the 2019 property tax rates at its meeting Tuesay morning.

Judge Executive Dean Watts told the magistrates that due to the growth in value of property, as well as new business and home construction, he recommended the county lower the existing property tax rate from 14.3 to 14.2 cents per $100 of value.

The lower tax rate generates approximately 4 percent more in tax revenue that last year’s tax rate, he said. The 4 percent revenue increase is the maximum allowed by law that is not subject to recall by voters.

The new tax rate requires the court conduct a public hearing to allow residents to voice their concerns. The public hearing on the proposed tax rate is 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019.

Magistrate Eric Shelburne

FORD EXPLORER VS. CHEVY TAHOE. Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa presented Fiscal Court with a request to purchase Chevy Tahoes for the sheriff’s office if Ford is unable to manufacture the appropriate model Explorer for police duty.

Pineiroa presented the court with prices for the Tahoe as well as the Dodge Durango models. He said he wouldn’t consider the Dodge models due to reliability issues among law enforcement agencies.

If Ford can’t provide the Explorers, his next choice are the Tahoe models, and he told the court the sheriff’s office is short several vehicles that were taken out of service but were never replaced with new vehicles.

Watts said it was his understanding only one model Explorer was being discontinued; Pineiroa said he thought it was the model used for police use. Several magistrates said they would need more time to review the situation before they would approve moving the department away from the purchases of Explorers as already approved.

The court approved the purchase of one Chevy Tahoe for use by a sheriff’s office detective, with Magistrate Gary Coulter abstaining.

Magistrate Keith Metcalfe told the court Tuesday that the recent study of county roads shows his district has received an inadequate share of road paving funds.

ROAD PAVING DISCUSSION. A survey of the length and width of all county roads prompted extended discussion among the magistrates about the allocation of money for paving the roads in their respective districts.

Magistrate Keith Metcalfe said his district has 22 percent of the county roads measured by length, but his district only received 18.9 percent of the funding since 2012. The numbers for the distribution of asphalt money aren’t equitable or fair, he said.

Three districts actually received more asphalt money than Metcalfe’s district — District 2, 4 and 5 all received more asphalt money since 2012.

Watts has control of discretionary road funds that go toward paving county roads in need of repair that may not be on a magistrate’s initial list. After consulting with the county road engineer and the magistrates, Watts said he allocates that money where the need is greatest and where it will do the most good.

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