Henderson County commissioners will consider lowering the tax rate for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Chair Bill Lapsley suggested lowering the county’s property tax rate following County Manager John Mitchell’s recommended budget presentation on Monday. Mitchell’s proposal is to keep the county rate the same for the fourth year in a row at $0.561 per $100 of property valuation. Lapsley suggested lowering the rate by 2 cents.
Property taxes make up the largest source of revenue for the county, with sales tax coming in second.
The commissioners will hear more about the proposed budget and dive into discussions at a budget workshop on Wednesday, May 18.
Lapsley said the county could lower the tax rate and likely keep adding to the fund balance at the same time. In the past five years, the county has added over $35 million more to the balance than original budget projections. This included $5.5 million in additional revenue in 2017, $3.5 million in 2018, $2.1 million in 2019, $7.4 million in 2020, and $16.9 million in 2021.
“The tax payers are due some relief,” Lapsley said. “…I don’t think it is our obligation to make boat loads of money. It is our obligation to balance the budget.”
Mitchell said this budget is ultimately the board’s budget. He described Monday’s presentation as a “6,000-foot-fly-by.” He also encouraged public participation and transparency.
“We believe in a completely open process,” he said.
Monday was Mitchell’s first budget proposal as county manager, a position he was selected for last fall.
Mitchell’s recommended budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $178.36 million, which is nearly $1.5 million higher than the previous year’s revised budget of $176.87 million.
The recommendation is largely consumed by expenses for education, public safety and human services. Approximately 34%, over $60 million, is set aside for education. Public safety takes up 24% of the pie with over $42.5 million, and human services with over $35 million and 20% of the budget. The three together make up approximately 78% of expenses and over $138 million in costs.
A public hearing on the fiscal year 2022-23 budget is scheduled for Monday, June 6 at 5:30 p.m. The board anticipates adopting the budget at the same meeting.
Information about the budget will be available at www.hendersoncountync.gov/budget.