On Thursday, July 28, the Hardin County Commissioners held a special meeting to discuss and vote on the 2017 proposed budget.
County Judge Wayne McDaniel began the meeting by stating that the taxable value for 2016 was in the amount of $2, 886,556,690. It was brought to the commissioners’ attention that this number includes the certificates of obligation and those were to be separated from the budget. The value, excluding the appraised value of the certificates of obligation, is $2,886,323,230. A portion of the increase in value was due to an increase in new properties.
“While there was a decrease in mineral values again this year and I think this probably is about six years running that we have had that happen, maybe longer; there was an increase in new properties that helped offset and even gave a nice decent increase this year in the taxable values.” County Judge Wayne McDaniel.
A concern regarding the fuel and oil budget was brought up and whether the slotted amount needed to be increased or decreased. It was determined that the commissioners would leave it as is for now and determine any increases throughout this next year.
Salary increases for exempt employees (affecting seven employees) had already been discussed previously and would be revisited if necessary.
McDaniel stated that the budget shows a decrease in salaries, however, it was due to the number of pay checks that were decreased rather than demotions. He said that the rate of pay would remain the same for 2017. The number of pay checks was reduced to 26; rather than the 27 pay checks received in 2016. He emphasized the importance of making this point clear. “That is something we really need to be sure to remind our people; is that it looks like it lost a lot of money but you are still making the same hourly rate.”
While discussing salaries, McDaniel disclosed that the new sheriff’s salary would be decreased. Hardin County was compared to other counties that are similar in size and budget. It was determined that the new salary for the sheriff would be in line with those comparable counties. Additionally, the new sheriff will not begin his position until January which is three months into the budget.
This proposal did not include the budget for the new annex building project. It was to be included when the budget was filed on Friday and it was stated that nothing had been changed from what was previously decided in court.
The proposed budget also included a request from the Sheriff for an $85k decrease in his budget.
Toward the end of the meeting, the commissioners discussed the $76,800 that was needed to balance the budget and whether or not that money would come from the fund balance, increasing taxable revenue, or expecting the rest from the values under protest. They determined, if it was necessary, it would probably come from the fund balance. They moved to adopt the proposed 2017 budget and the motion was passed unanimously.
The possibility of a tax rate increase was mentioned. McDaniel said that if the tax rate were increased to .58, that it would give the county a surplus of $32k. After some conversation about increasing the tax rate; the commissioners passed the motion to keep the rate at .5762 for now and the meeting was adjourned.