County sets pre-levy rate for project

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


The Washington County Supervisors set the pre-levy to 50 cents per $100,000 tax valuation to help finance purchasing the equipment for emergency services in the county at the meeting Tuesday morning.

The supervisors needed to decide what amount to increase the pre-levy for next year?s fiscal budget. Michael Hart, of Northland Securities, also needed to know, so he could get the resolution needed for the county to seek bonds for the project. The county could borrow up to $10.5 million, but won?t know how much they need to until the Requests For Proposals are reviewed.

Washington County treasurer Jeff Garrett prepared a sheet letting the supervisors know how increasing the pre-levy would affect property owners in the county. He used the scenarios Hart gave the supervisors last week to prepare the information.

The options Hart gave the county last week included: increasing the debt service levy of 74 cents for the 8-year bond option, 50 cents for the 10-year and 34 cents for the 12-year and tried to see what kind of impact it would have on taxes for every $100,000 estimated value of property tax, Garrett said.

For the 50-cent tax levy, Garrett said for every $100,000 in tax valuation on a home there would be $27.81 of an increase. For a commercial property, it would increase $45 for every $100,000 tax value, for agriculture it would be $27.22 for every $100,000 tax valuation and for multi-residential it would be $39.38 for every $100,000 tax valuation.

?Now, obviously if you have a $200,000 house you have to take that times two for your impact and that?s kind of general estimates not taking into accounty any credits,? Garrett said.

Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. reminded everyone they won?t know how much they?ll need to borrow for the project until the RFPs come in. They are due March 25 and will be reviewed in the month of April, he said.

?Still in all, this is merely a comparison with pretty much the best guess we have now,? Seward said. ?To borrow $8.5 million in new debt ? it could be more than that. We have the authority [to borrow] up to $10.5 [million].?

Hopefully, when the RFPs come in they?ll be lower than $8.5 million, Seward added.

?Yeah, if they came back at $6.5 [million], it would be 75 percent of that,? Garrett said.

Garrett reminded Seward that whatever number the supervisors to go with for the debt service levy it would affect property owners next fiscal year.

??Cause you?re going to have to decide if you want to have a 50-cent pre-levy or what,? Garrett added.

Board chairman Abe Miller said they were making the decision Tuesday, so the county doesn?t have to pay interest on the interest amount.

?We want to make sure that money?s to pay that interest off and it also pays that principal,? Miller said. ?If we don?t approve it now, then it would be that following year and then we?ll be paying interest on top of the interest we owe from the previous year, and we don?t want to do that because it will just cost the taxpayers more money.?

By setting the pre-levy at 50 cents, it would generate $626,000 in revenue for next fiscal year, Garrett said. The interest payment on $8.6 million would be roughly $258,000.

?So you?ll have some money to pay principal and interest,? Garrett said. ?You won?t just be paying on interest.?

The supervisors approved going with the 50-cent pre-levy rate unanimously.