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VOL. 128 | NO. 107 | Monday, June 03, 2013

Commission Takes Up Property Tax Hike

By Bill Dries

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Shelby County Commissioners take the first of three votes Monday, June 3, on a 6-cent property tax hike as well as a 30-cent increase in the tax rate.

And four of the seven votes needed for the tax hike are there. So is a very vocal minority on the commission who see the recertified tax rate increase as a tax hike even before the 6-cent tax hike recommended by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is considered.

Shelby County Commissioners vote Monday on the first of three readings of a 6-cent county property tax hike to fund the consolidated school district.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

The commission meets Monday at 1:30 p.m. at the Vasco Smith County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.

“You could recommend that you keep the rate at $4.02,” Commissioner Wyatt Bunker said to county Chief Administrative Officer Harvey Kennedy in committee sessions last week.

Kennedy said the county then wouldn’t have even the same amount of revenue it has now to “meet responsibilities.”

“What we are doing for Shelby County is counterproductive to what I’ve heard all of you profess,” Bunker said. “If you do this, you realize that what you are doing is you are making it harder for people to expand business, create jobs for people in Shelby County.”

Bunker’s move in committee to recommend a stable county property tax rate of $4.02 failed on a 4-5 vote.

The motion the full commission considers Monday of a $4.38 rate with a recertified rate of $4.32 and a 6-cent property tax hike won the committee recommendation on a 4-3 vote. The tax rate, currently and as proposed, is 4 cents higher in the county outside Memphis because of rural school bonds issued for the construction of Arlington High School.

“What we are doing for Shelby County is counterproductive to what I’ve heard all of you profess. ... What you are doing is you are making it harder for people to expand business, create jobs for people in Shelby County.”

–Wyatt Bunker
Shelby County Commissioner

The tax rate will need three more votes on the commission to win approval Monday on first reading.

If that is the tax rate that wins final approval with the county operating budget it would provide $20 million in new funding to the consolidated public school system that begins with the new fiscal year July 1.

The budget proposal the countywide school board submitted to the county for funding has a $30 million gap between revenues and expenses.

But the school board is expected to find the remaining $10 million with either money from its reserve fund or by cutting budget items at the bottom of its priority list or some combination of the two.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 66 153 14,870
MORTGAGES 64 144 19,474
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 22 3,817
BUILDING PERMITS 217 359 35,689
BANKRUPTCIES 59 121 14,155
BUSINESS LICENSES 24 86 5,077
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 71 170 21,603
MARRIAGE LICENSES 22 59 4,616

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