=BENTON -- Tax rates will remain the same in Scott County for the year 2008.
A tax rate hearing was held Thursday during the regular Scott County Commission meeting. No members of the public showed up to voice their opinion.
Although taxes for the general revenue could be raised .0477, commissioners voted to take a voluntary reduction and keep the rate at 10 cents. Rates for johnson grass remained a penny and for the No. 1 road district .2993, which is the maximum amount that can be set.
"At this time, I can't see raising the rate on personal property or real estate taxes," said Jamie Burger, presiding commissioner. He noted that the taxes now bring in about $355,000 annually and if it were raised, about $180,000 more would be generated.
"But naturally, the taxpayers would have to pay it, so we're going to hold the line at the 10 cents," he said.
Burger went on to say that with the Sept. 30 expiration of the half-cent law enforcement sales tax passed to pay for the new jail, an increase on property taxes may appear to be an easy option to replace some of the revenue generated by the tax in excess of the jail payment.
"But I feel personal property and real estate taxes are a penalty for improvement on people's material quality of life," he said.
"I'm glad that we were able to keep the tax rate the same without any additional burden on property owners," added Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn.
Commissioners said they are exploring several options to balance the upcoming budget that will be passed in January 2009.
"We as elected officials have to evaluate our budgets to make sure we are receiving all federal and state reimbursements, available grants, and work diligently to streamline our costs," said Burger. "If, in the future, we feel the need to look for revenue to replace our half-cent sales tax that was used for law enforcement and the building of the jail, we need to explore every and all, including the most equitable, solutions, and look at distribution to all of the departments."
Ziegenhorn agreed. "Knowing that the law enforcement sales tax will expire in September, we're trying to figure out ways to get the most out of the money we have available. We strive for an efficient county government and with the loss of the sales tax, our efforts are even more important."