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No tax increase expected
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Warren County’s property tax rate could once again remain the same, meaning the county could make it 13 years without a tax increase. The budget for fiscal year 2015-16 has passed committee and is headed for the full Warren County Commission.
The county’s Financial Management Committee and Budget and Finance Committee met Tuesday and both unanimously accepted a budget that included no tax increase, a $2 salary adjustment for judicial commissioners, a 50-cent raise for all full- and part-time county employees, and donations to nonprofits.
While Financial Management met at 3:30 p.m., Budget and Finance gave final approval at 5 p.m. Finance Department director Linda Hillis presented the consolidated budget during both meetings.
“It looks like we should be fine for the year,” said Hillis. “Knock on wood. Do you want to go through the budget line by line?”
Commissioner Carl E. Bouldin voiced his opinion that Hillis’ recommendation was good enough for him.
“If Mrs. Linda says it will work, I vote for it,” said Bouldin.
Commissioner Terry Bell added, “Are you going to put that into the form of a motion?”
He did and the measure passed 5-0. On the committee with Bouldin and Bell are Commissioners Ken Martin, Michael Martin and Diane Starkey.
In Financial Management, the vote to accept passed 4-0. On the committee are County Executive Herschel Wells and Commissioners Bell, Billy Earl Jones and Tommy Savage. Absent was Commissioner Wayne Copeland.
The county’s current tax rate is $1.9661, which is the certified rate the state calculated after property reappraisal. While the tax rate was lowered from $1.995, it is not considered a tax reduction due to it generating the same amount of revenue.
Included within the budget:
• Two pending new capital outlay notes: the purchase of three new vehicles for the Warren County Sheriff’s Department not to exceed $125,000, and an HVAC unit for the Warren Coun-ty Health Department not to exceed $105,500.
• Nonprofit donations: Citizens for Progress $2,000; Governor’s Books from Birth $3,000; Herit-age Alliance $1,000; Chamber of Commerce $5,000; Food Bank $2,470; Warren County A&L Fair $10,000; Main Street McMinnville $1,250; American Red Cross $7,500; CHEER Mental Health $5,000; Families in Crisis $1,000; Senior Center $7,500; Pacesetters $2,000; Sister City Program $5,000; RSVP $500; Volunteer Fire Departments $21,000; Meals on Wheels $2,500; and Young Men United $4,000.
• Donations of $150,000 to Industrial Development and $336,998 for Warren County Memorial Airport.
• A $2 salary adjustment for judicial commissioners in an effort to stem the high turnover rate in that position. If it remains within the budget, current judicial commissioners will receive a sala-ry increase of $2 and the beginning salary for new hires will be increased from $7.50 to $9.50.
• A 50-cent raise for all full- and part-time county employees, which will not be given to judicial commissioner due to the $2 adjustment.
 The consolidated budget, as well as the committee’s recommendation to leave the property tax rate unchanged, will be sent to the full Warren County Commission for its consideration in July.