Lauderdale County Holds Budget Hearing

The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors held a Public Hearing tonight about the upcoming budget. The assessed value of things like homes and cars in the county has significantly dropped over the past three years, and falling by 1 and a half percent in the last year alone. County Administrator Joe McCraney presented the budget to the Board, and showed where exactly taxpayer money goes.

"It's going to be a tight year. The assessed valuation has dropped, but the county board of supervisors kept the milage rate the same as it has been the last three years. It's going to be a challenge, but I think we can do it."

The Lauderdale County School System has seen their budget slashed by $4 Million over the last 4 years, and they say they now that they need extra money for classroom support. State law requires the Board of Supervisors accommodates the school's budget, even if they reject it.

"The county school budget is something that the Board of Education approves, is sent to the county, and the county has to levy taxes to fund the dollar amount."

Besides the possible raise in taxes for the school system, the Board is not anticipating raising any other taxes, so they will stay at the same rate they have at for the past three years. Council President Joe Norwood says that they didn't have to cut services during the economic downturn.

"When you look at all of those things and look at the fact that we lost the 5th largest tax payer in the county, we have been able to absorb all of those losses without a tax increase, and I just think we put together a very good budget that's efficient, and we've done the best we can do."

The Board will vote on the budget this Friday.

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