County Tax Rate Doesn’t Get Past Budget Committee

By Bill Dries

Shelby County Commissioners could not find enough votes in committee sessions Wednesday, July 17, for a county property tax rate that had any chance of passing before the full commission next week.


In the committee session Wednesday, 12 of the 13 commissioners were present.

But a proposed $4.32 tax rate from Commissioner Terry Roland only got two votes. Roland proposed the certified tax rate without a 6-cent tax hike proposed by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

The certified tax rate sets the tax rate at the amount it is estimated will produce the same amount of revenue for county government as the current tax rate taking into account the property value lost in the 2013 property reappraisal.

Roland had previously favored keeping the tax rate at $4.02. But he said Wednesday his proposal was an acknowledgement that his position probably didn’t have seven votes. Commission chairman Mike Ritz indicated he was ready to support Roland’s plan because he didn’t believe the $4.38 rate had seven votes either.

When only Roland and commissioner Steve Basar voted for the $4.32 tax rate, Roland said he would vote against other plans as a vote “against the process.”

“Forgive me for trying to work with you and compromise,” he said. “I see it’s either all or none.”

Luttrell urged the commission to move ahead with the $4.38 tax rate he proposed that the commission voted down on third and final reading earlier this month. But that only got four votes in committee.

The $4.38 proposal goes to the full commission Monday with a negative recommendation from the budget committee.

Meanwhile, Luttrell told commissioners that County Attorney Kelly Rayne has advised him no matter what tax rate is set, the county cannot change the amount of funding for the consolidated school system in the already approved county budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

The county provides $20 million in new funding for the merged school district in the budget plan.

The budget with the schools funding was not only approved by the County Commission, the level of schools funding was also accepted by the countywide school board, making the action final, according to Rayne.