Budget attracts few comments

May. 28, 2013 @ 09:50 PM

Taxpayers had few words to say Tuesday about a proposed 2014 county budget that does not increase property taxes.
The county’s property tax rate is projected to remain at 54 cents per $100 valuation, but sewer rates could go up as much as 9 percent to cover wastewater treatment provider increases. Also ambulance fees and inspection fees are expected to increase slightly, according to the proposed $152 million budget.
Among the three public hearing speakers was parent Neal Motsinger who in an open letter has asked county commissioners to build a new high school in northern Davidson County near Oak Grove Middle School.
“I believe the current and future students of Oak Grove Middle deserve the opportunity to attend the high school that was planned for when Oak Grove was constructed,” Motsinger said in the letter.
The new high school is the Davidson County Board of Education’s No. 1 capital request. The school, which is estimated to cost as much as $45 million, would be located across from Oak Grove Middle.
Nearly $37 million, or about 30 percent of the entire proposed 2014 budget, is dedicated to the three school systems and Davidson County Community College, according to the county’s budget message.
A speaker representing the business community asked commissioners for an additional $24,000 for the two chambers of commerce in Davidson County to support small business.
Barney Hill, a frequent speaker at public meetings, called on commissioners to refund the county’s fund balance to taxpayers and to reduce taxes.
Although the meeting room was nearly full, no others chose to speak.
“This is your chance,” said Chairman Fred McClure. “We’ll listen to your suggestions”
In other business, commissioners recognized two winning designs for Blue Star Memorials planned for the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 85. A Blue Star designates a service member fighting in a war. The memorials would recognize all county residents who served in the military. 
A design competition took place in Carl Shatley’s DCCC design class. A design for each memorial was selected by a group of veterans and members of garden clubs. The Davidson County Veterans Council is collecting funds to finish the project. There are plans for a formal dedication when the memorials are placed.

2014 Budget Basics

Tax Rate: 54 cents per $100. The owner of a $100,000 house would pay $540 a year in property taxes.  One penny in property tax equals $1.2 million.
Budget Total: $152 million from all funds.
Tax Base: $12.9 billion
Revenues: $119.7 million, up 2 percent. Property taxes account for $67.6 million of the total.
Raises: County employees would get a 1.5 percent salary increase.